Red River bridge construction begins - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Red River bridge construction begins

CLAY COUNTY, TX (KAUZ) -

Drivers on TX-79 are noticing changes as work gets underway on a new Red River bridge.

"This old bridge, it's had a lot of problems for a long time. We go under here a lot riding ATVs and underneath the bridge is in really bad shape," said Randy Houston, a driver who uses the bridge frequently. 

The TX/OK-79 Red River bridge has been carrying drivers since 1939. They are ready for a new one.

"Oh I think it's been needed and we're excited about it. This current bridge was built back some time ago so the new bridge will be a lot safer," said Bob Waitman. 

"Be a little smoother probably. I hope," said Ken Barbour. 

According to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, the bridge was used by an average of 1,100 vehicles per day. A load that the bridge isn't able to carry for much longer.

"It's currently structurally deficient so Oklahoma right now is doing all they can to fix the structurally deficient bridges," said ODOT Duncan Resident Manager, Colton Roberts.

Even though the new bridge is just now beginning construction, the old bridge is getting some work done as well. Crews are replacing the old concrete, with patches of new concrete to keep car's ride smooth as you head over the Red River.

The new bridge will be almost a half mile long and cost $11.1 million. The state of Texas will pay for a little more than $5 million of the project. While the bridge will be wider than the current one, it will stay two lanes with shoulders.

Speed limits have been dropped to 45 mph but Roberts says drivers are excited and don't mind.

"I had one guy stop when I was down there and he was excited about it because the bridge will actually be wider than the existing one. They were moving a wide load across it," said Roberts. 

The project is set to be finished late next summer. 

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