Bids are scheduled to be opened Aug. 21 on a $5 million rehabilitation project for the Belle Isle bridges on Interstate 44 in Oklahoma City.
All lanes of Interstate 44 are expected to remain open throughout the project, said Terri Angier, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Transportation Department.
That’s good news for motorists, since that stretch of I-44 near Penn Square Mall is one of the busiest in Oklahoma, with about 96,600 vehicles a day passing over the bridges, she said.
If all goes as planned, the contract will be awarded Sept. 8 and rehabilitation work should begin in early winter.
The rehabilitation work is expected to take a little longer than a year and will consist of repairing deteriorated concrete in the substructure elements of both east and westbound bridges and ramps over Northwest Expressway and Classen Boulevard.
There will be a need to close the westbound I-44 exit ramp to the Northwest Expressway for a few hours at some point during the project to repair or replace signs mounted on the ramp, Angier said.
About 42,400 vehicles a day use the ramp, but the contractor will be asked to schedule a time when the ramp is least busy and to avoid the holiday shopping season from late November to the end of December.
City streets under the bridges will remain open during the project, but lane shifts and closures will be required at times on Northwest Expressway and Classen Boulevard beneath the bridges.
The Belle Isle bridges were built in 1978, Angier said, adding that such highway bridges are typically designed to last 75 or more years.
The rehabilitation work is designed to extend the life of the bridges by about 20 years, she said.
The east and westbound bridges each are about 3,000 feet long. The rehabilitation work will be performed beneath the entire lengths of the spans.