GUTHRIE — A well-traveled old bridge on State Highway 33 near downtown Guthrie has buckled under the summer heat.
The bridge, in the Cottonwood Creek area, was closed between 7 and 8 p.m. Wednesday and is expected to be closed until before rush hour Friday afternoon, said Terri Angier, state Transportation Department spokeswoman.
“The two panels basically expanded at the joint and are pushing at each other, so they actually come up a few inches on the roadway,” Angier said Thursday. “Heat, temperatures like this, do cause older bridges, older pavement, to do this type of buckling before, of course, good pavement.”
The temperature hit 113 degrees Wednesday at Guthrie, according to the Oklahoma Mesonet weather network.
Angier said transportation officials watch areas that might be especially susceptible because of the age of the roadways.
“The trick is: It is really hard to predict,” she said. “Some of them go through a few weeks of buildup with high temperatures; some of them immediately do it because they've already gone through the buildup cycle with the previous heat wave.”
Someone noticed the joints on the bridge were getting too close to each other Wednesday evening and called Guthrie police, who contacted the Transportation Department.
Angier said transportation officials had a public meeting in Guthrie a few months ago to talk about issues regarding the bridge and how to address them.
“It is an older bridge and it sits at an interesting angle to where there is a lot of wear and tear on it, so we're aware of it and we're trying to fix it,” she said.
Angier said workers cut out a 10-by-26-foot panel and will need to wait for the coolest temperatures — possibly at 3 to 4 a.m. Friday — to pour concrete.
“Engineers have taken advantage of the already closed bridge and are taking a closer look at all the other joints and for more possible heat-related needed repairs,” she said.