Icy weather leads to wrecks on untreated bridges

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Updated: 11/25/2013 5:21 pm Published: 11/25/2013 3:48 pm

The weather is being blamed for dozens of wrecks across Green Country on Monday morning.

One problem spot was Highway 412 east of Catoosa, in Rogers County. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol told FOX23 it was forced to shut down the Verdigris River Bridge for safety reasons.

The westbound lanes were closed for nearly two hours as the accidents were cleared and the bridge treated.

County crews were out all night treating smaller bridges, but FOX23 discovered a bridge many drivers take to and from Tulsa wasn't treated by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation until after accidents shut it down.

Once the accidents began, traffic was a mess, with cars backed up for miles.

"I guess I better just pull over and relax for a while," said Mike McMahan, a driver sitting in his truck, waiting for traffic to move.

"I tried to find an alternate route, but there are no bridges, so I thought I might as well just wait it out," he said.

The bridge was shut down in both directions for more than an hour. ODOT crews treated the bridge with salt and sand, and troopers waited on tow trucks to haul away more than eight wrecked vehicles.

"It is pretty fortunate there aren't any serious injuries," said Trooper Russell Cissne.

McMahan said he learned to slow down the hard way a few years ago.

"I hit a patch of ice and spun around and wound up in the ditch," he said.

ODOT said it always warns drivers to be careful on bridges, since they freeze first.

It also said bridges aren't usually pretreated unless the department is pretty confident the roads will ice.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Mayor Maynot - 11/26/2013 11:29 AM
0 Votes
The negligent party should be held responsible for the resulting damage.

Unwashed Mass - 11/25/2013 11:18 PM
1 Vote
Sounds like the bad weather caught ODOT completely off guard.
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