PURCELL — Residents of Lexington and Purcell may have to wait longer than expected before the bridge between the towns is reopened, state officials said Thursday.
Contractors have discovered new cracks in the U.S. 77/State Highway 29 bridge that could make it difficult for them the get the bridge open on schedule, state Transportation Department Spokesman Larry Clore said.
The bridge was closed Jan. 31 after 10 cracks were discovered in the bridge’s structure. It is a major inconvenience for those who live in Lexington and Purcell, as the closest detour between the two neighboring towns, which are just two miles apart, is a 40-mile drive.
State Transportation Department officials had hoped to reopen the bridge to car and pickup traffic 45 days after the start of work. But the discovery of nearly 30 more cracks during repairs will make that deadline more difficult to achieve.
“What was 10 cracks is now 37,” Clore said. “That estimation of when it can be reopened might be lengthened now.”
Clore said the newly found cracks could have formed in already weakened areas or might have shown up because of recent freezing temperatures.
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