Traffic detours caused Thursday afternoon by a large hole in the westbound lanes of the Crosstown Expressway likely were inconvenient to area motorists.
But problems caused by traffic delays were not nearly as inconvenient as damages the hole would have caused to vehicles as they rolled across the expressway.
The Oklahoma Transportation Department had to close two of three lanes of westbound Interstate 40 near Classen Boulevard for three hours.
The hole was 2 feet by 4 feet wide and open all the way through the bridge deck, with the ground visible below, department spokeswoman Terri Angier said.
Angier said the exact reason for the hole was unknown, but appeared to have been caused by the deck's age.
The inside and center westbound lanes were closed from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Bridge is in its final years
Emergency repairs aren't uncommon on the Crosstown Expressway. The aging bridge is set to close in 2012 when the new Crosstown Expressway opens about a mile south.
The Transportation Department has been patching holes in the current bridge for years.
"We probably have more patches than deck,” department director of engineering, David Streb, said earlier this week. "If that thing was going to be around another 25 years, we'd be talking to bridge division ... about a redeck.”
Contributing: Brian Sargent, Staff Writer