Residents voice opinions on Washita River Bridge demolition project

By  | 

TISHOMINGO, OK -- A proposed bridge project is striking controversy in Tishomingo.

It was a packed house Monday night at Murray State College in Tishomingo, filled with citizens concerned about the Washita River Bridge demolition and rebuilding project.

The project is slated for 2018, but could happen a lot sooner.

Chief engineer with ODOT, Casey Shell said, "It is a bridge that we must get replaced. It's a fractural critical, structure deficient bridge that is in our system that we must get corrected," The bridge is one of the most frequently travelled in the area and business leaders worry that losing the bridge means losing revenue.

Seigel Huffington with the Johnston County Chamber of Commerce said, "Especially the businesses want the bridge to remain open ever since December of 2012 when Miranda Lambert brought the pink pistol in... Tishomingo has been in a growth spurt and we don't want to see that diminished,"

The bridge is also a link to Lake Texoma. If demolished it would mean detours for the 18 month period, ODOT says, it would take to rebuild a timeframe many people say is unacceptable.

Tishomingo resident Lisa Clark said,"I think they should have it where there is at least one passageway over the bridge and they have done that every place else I don't see why they can't do it here," while Tishomingo resident Jerry Green said, "I'm opposed to it, I think they need to leave the road open and build the new bridge and allow the citizens to have access to 377."

Residents had their chance to voice these concerns to ODOT, but the agency says the project plans will move ahead.

Shell said, "We are pretty much set on course to replace the bridge and close the bridge but we want to hear what the people have to say," but a final timeframe has not been decided.