Inspections continue on Arkansas River bridges

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Updated: 6/25/2013 3:15 pm Published: 6/24/2013 12:14 pm

Engineers began inspecting Tulsa's three Arkansas River bridges today for any signs of defect.

They began checking the underside of the 71st Street bridge Monday morning.

FOX23's Janai Norman was able to tag along with inspectors Glen Watkins and Brad Burtch in what they call the "snooper truck" to see the process of inspecting bridges.

"We're looking at everything on it," Watkins says. "We look, make notes, take pictures, and then the paperwork starts."

The bridges were last inspected in August of 2011, and were found at that time to still be in good shape.

Monday morning, inspectors used the snooper truck to get right up close to the pillars and beams to find any signs of problems.

"Maybe moving on some of the [parts], but there's no moving on this bridge," Watkins explained. "Not here, this bridge is in good shape."

As a driver on the bridge eased the truck forward, FOX23 was able to see the bolts inspectors say can move as much as 2 feet as the temperature ranges from freezing to near 112 degrees.

Burtch warned, "It's when a bridge doesn't move is when you get worried, because that's when things break."

We found out it's not small cracks or light rusting that are hazardous, but rather just normal wear and tear inspectors are keeping an eye on.

"That's why we do what we do, to stop that," Burtch said.

Some bridges in critical condition can be inspected as often as every six months if deemed necessary.

Every two years the undersides of the Arkansas River bridges are inspected, or on the alternate years of bridge surface inspections.

Watkins says they're ranked on a scale from one to five--the 71st Street bridge got a one.

"This bridge here is the best of thethree,” he said.

Tuesday, inspectors begin on the 21st Street bridge, and they will finish with the 11th Street bridge on Wednesday.

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