|Updated: 2/14 5:18 pm
||Published: 2/14 3:44 pm
TULSA, Okla. - On Friday, evening crews shut down a major highway as part of a bridge replacement project happening on 46th Street North over Highway 169.
Crews will tear down the eastbound Highway 266 Bridge that crosses over 169.
The project will shut down Highway 169 and cause major traffic delays.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation project managers said the 46th Street North-Highway 169 weekend bridge project kicks off a yearlong $9 million plan.
"Both bridges on 266 over 169 are considered to be structurally deficient and this is just the first step in improving this interchange,” said Jessica Prince, an ODOT project manager.
Crews will start by removing the deck of the bridge, then work toward removing the beams, and finally the piers.
ODOT managers said heavy traffic flow is another reason the change is necessary.
“For 169 there are approximately 60,000 cars that go through this corridor and then for 266 there's over 9,000 and there's just a lot of heavy truck traffic that goes through this area, so this is a very critical area," said Prince.
Once the eastbound bridge is removed, crews will spend the rest of the weekend getting ready for traffic on 46th Street North to use just one bridge.
“They will ensure that crossovers are put in on State Highway 266 to make sure we can safely put traffic on the westbound bridge,” said Prince.
The plan also includes changing the interchange from a cloverleaf to a diamond design.
“The diamond design is just going to be a lot safer and a lot more efficient for the volume of traffic that is going through the area,” said Prince.
Later this year, crews will tear down the westbound bridge of Highway 266 that crosses over 169.
The entire project is expected to last into early next year.