New portion of Purcell-Lexington bridge opens to drivers in McClain County

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MCCLAIN COUNTY, Okla. – Friday was a huge day for residents of Purcell and Lexington.

Back in 2014, the bridge between the two towns closed, making a typically five to ten-minute drive now 45 minutes long.

Since then, residents have dealt with years of construction, but now crews with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation has formally opened all lanes of a new bridge.

Officials say five years of headaches ended with the cut of a ribbon.

The first James C. Nance bridge connecting Purcell and Lexington was built in 1938. It was deemed unsafe in 2014 and closed for several months, leaving drivers with a 45-minute detour.

In the five years leading up to this moment, residents have driven on a patched up version of the old bridge, seen its demolition and driven in a select few lanes of the new one.

Now, there’s a sigh of relief with all lanes open.

“We are one community and not just two,” said Purcell Mayor Ted Cox. “We share a lot more things than just a telephone prefix with Lexington.”

ODOT says a project like this typically takes a decade of planning, design and construction. They fast-tracked this one, getting it done in half the time.

The project cost $38 million.

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