New Greasy Bend bridge opens in Johnston County

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JOHNSTON COUNTY, Okla. (KXII) - "I was almost afraid to drive across the Greasy Bend Bridge, and it was one of those bridges you kind of hold your breath till you get to the other side," District 14 State Senator Franks Simpson said.

Johnston County commissioners say it's been a long time coming.

"I feel blessed," County Commissioner Melvin Farmer said.

The old Greasy Bend bridge has finally been replaced after years of construction.

Commissioners say the original structure (built in 1952) was no longer safe for drivers.

Construction of the new bridge had to be redesigned, after the major floods of 2015

"I used to farm over here and the fact we can get our produce across the bridge and back and forth is just wonderful," Mannsville Trustee Gary Glidwell said. It's wonderful for the whole area."

A motor vehicle collection tax that was passed in 2006 paid for the bridge.

"A county like this would never have the funding to do a structure like this, this is a bridge that's about $4.6 million," Circuit Engineering Districts Board Executive Director Randy Robinson said.

Robinson says the old bridge had too many problems to repair.

He says it was just one lane and could only hold about 10 tons.

"The new bridge is pre-stressed concrete, brand new approaches so it should have a design life of 75 plus years," Robinson said.

"Without structurally efficient bridges we're not going to be able to utilize and get to our industry, and deliver it to the rest of our state," House Speaker Charles Mccall said.

Commissioners say the old bridge will remain next to the new one, but is now closed to drivers.

"It's a big step leaning forward," County Commissioner Roy Blevins said.