Willis Bridge over Lake Texoma scheduled for replacement in 2019

OKLAHOMA CITY (KXII) - A $43 million contract to replace a mile-long, 58-year-old bridge over Lake Texoma that links Oklahoma and Texas was awarded Monday by the Oklahoma Transportation Commission, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation announced.

Image provided by the Okla. Dept. of Transportation

The Willis Bridge is on SH-99/US-377 and connects Madill in Marshall County, Okla., and Whitesboro in Grayson County, Texas. The replacement structure will be wider and longer than the existing one and built to the east. The project also will include construction of the approaching roadway at each end of the new bridge and demolition of the old bridge.

ODOT says the new bridge will be 5,462 feet long with two 12-foot-wide driving lanes and 10-foot-wide shoulders on each side. The tallest of the 38 piers that will support the bridge deck will extend about 80 feet from the top of the bridge deck to the lake bed.

According to ODOT, Jensen Construction Co. of Sand Springs was the lowest of eight bidders for the job at $43 million. Five of the other companies are Texas contractors, one is from Kansas and another is from Florida.

The existing bridge was completed in 1960 and is in poor condition, the department said.

“This bridge requires maintenance on a regular basis which can have economic impacts and affects the traveling public. We’re pleased to see this new bridge begin; it will far outlive its predecessor,” said Anthony Echelle, Division 2 Engineer for southeastern Oklahoma.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2019 and will take about two and a half years to complete, pending weather conditions and other factors. The cost of the project is expected to be financed with federal funds and about half the cost will be shared with Texas.

Motorists will continue to drive on the old bridge until completion of the replacement bridge and the approaching roadway at each end is finished, according to ODOT. About 2,800 vehicles travel across the Willis Bridge each day.

The Willis Bridge is the longest state-maintained bridge in Oklahoma and receives its name from the local community of Willis on the Oklahoma side.