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Interstate 44 in northwest Oklahoma City is narrowed for bridge repairs

Two lanes of Interstate 44 in Oklahoma City are closed on the Belle Isle bridge, as is an on-ramp. An expansion joint that damaged vehicles early Monday needs to be repaired, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol reports.
BY ROBERT MEDLEY rmedley@opubco.com Modified: July 18, 2011 at 1:34 pm •  Published: July 18, 2011

/articleid/3586659/1/pictures/1467742">Photo - Oklahoma Department of Transportation workers and vehicle are shown in the far left eastbound lane of Interstate 44 on the Belle Isle bridge where it crosses over the Northwest Expressway in Oklahoma City on Monday. Two eastbound lanes were closed when an expansion joint, shown just right of the center in the photo, failed, causing damage to vehicles traveling on the highway. Photo by Paul B. Southerland, The Oklahoman <strong>PAUL B. SOUTHERLAND</strong>
Oklahoma Department of Transportation workers and vehicle are shown in the far left eastbound lane of Interstate 44 on the Belle Isle bridge where it crosses over the Northwest Expressway in Oklahoma City on Monday. Two eastbound lanes were closed when an expansion joint, shown just right of the center in the photo, failed, causing damage to vehicles traveling on the highway. Photo by Paul B. Southerland, The Oklahoman PAUL B. SOUTHERLAND

The lanes were closed about 5:45 a.m., the patrol reported. The eastbound I-44 on-ramp from Northwest Expressway was closed about 7:30 a.m.

A trooper was called to a report of debris on the Belle Isle bridge about 5:30 a.m.

The trooper was able to use a flashlight to see that steel parts of the expansion joint had risen in the roadway.

“It's not something we can just do a quick patch on,” Randolph said. “It's going to take a little bit, so we ask for motorists to be patient with us.”

Transportation Department spokeswoman Mills Gotcher said she could not speculate on the cause of the problem, but she said expansion joints often are affected by extreme temperature. About 7:30 a.m., Gotcher said workers attributed the problem to the age of the bridge and not the extreme heat alone. The bridge was built in 1975.


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