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Tishomingo residents fear lengthy Washita River bridge project

A project to replace a bridge over the Washita River on U.S. 377 south of Tishomingo could span as long as 18 months. It is causing concern for local business owners who fear long detours and lost revenue.
BY SHEILA STOGSDILL, For The Oklahoman Modified: June 17, 2014 at 11:48 pm •  Published: June 17, 2014

— A group of Tishomingo business owners is pushing for an alternative plan for a bridge replacement project, saying the current project will jeopardize business revenue.

The Washita River bridge is set to be replaced in 2018. The 559-foot-long, concrete-styled bridge is more than 70 years old. It is on U.S. 377 south of Tishomingo, which is a main thoroughfare between Texas and central Oklahoma.

City officials said they believe the current construction plan and its 18-month or longer construction schedule would deal a knockout blow to the rural community of 3,800 people.

About 75 people turned out Monday to address their concerns with representatives of the state Transportation Department.

“We want to come up with an alternative to closing the bridge,” said Earl Brewer, Washita River Bridge Impact Committee chairman. “We would like for them to build a parallel bridge next to the bridge they are going to tear down. They do it all the time — all over the state.”

During the construction phase, individuals living close to the south side of the bridge will have about a 30-mile detour if they want to go to Tishomingo, Brewer said. Individuals living closer to Madill will have about a five-mile detour, he said. The frustration is not only about the extra miles people will have to drive, but also about the potential loss of revenue for Tishomingo, Brewer said.

“The detour will be troublesome — it’s not a direct route and there are train crossings,” Brewer said.

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