“We recognize that this is a major emergency situation for truckers, and helping them is a primary concern,” says ODOT spokesperson Terri Angier. Recommended detours in the immediate area of the bridge include State Highway 9 to the south of I-40 and U.S. Highway 64 to the north. Rumors that U.S. 64 was closed “are not true,” she said, and routine repair work on that road has been temporarily suspended.
However, both detour routes are two-lane roads, “and in reality it would be best to avoid the area altogether,” Angier told Fleet Owner. The 412 Turnpike some 60 miles to the north in the Tulsa area could be an excellent alternative, according to Angier.
Located 40 miles east of the Arkansas border, a 600-ft. span of the I-40 bridge over the Arkansas River collapsed when it was hit by a barge early Sunday morning. That portion of I-40 is a major east-west artery carrying on average 20,000 vehicles a day. Trucks make up one-third of that traffic, according to Angier.
Early estimates are that it could take at least six months to repair the bridge, “but we’ll do everything we can to get it (repaired) in under six months,” Angier said.