Last crossing for Rock Creek Bridge

City council members Hugo Naifeh, Carla Gunn, Craig Henderson, Wes Galloway, Lou Martin, Jr., Marty Cummins, Mayor Reg Green, John Anderson, and Bruce Bledsoe listened intently as the “messenger” -from Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) delivered the bad news for the long-neglected Rock Creek Bridge on Ozark Trail (old Route 66). Bruce Martin, a Bridge Inspector from ODOT, was called upon to tell the powers-that-be at City Hall that the bridge that is on the National Registry of Historic Places is deemed no longer navigable by vehicles and is even risky for a large number of people, such as a bus-load of tourists or a family reunion.

Mr. Martin spoke in public as he is legally bound to do, telling the group that the bridge is at “Critical Finding” that if the there is a fracture of a critical major member, the whole bridge, may totally collapse. The City has 30 days to close the bridge,  and 90 days to repair it. (It is closed to through traffic now) If after 60 days, nothing has been done, the ODOT  authorities have to close it to all traffic. Officially, the bridge holds 4 tons, but the distribution is different for several people or a vehicle.

Rick Rumsey, Assistant City Manager, stated that he was “working on contacting” a contractor to see what could be done. The major problem is that in 2019, there will be an ODOT “Carrying Capacity Check,” which the Rock Creek Bridge will most likely fail—even spending $20,000, earmarked to keep it open.

Further, Martin said that any bridge under 3 tons must be closed within 30 days. He said the damaged trusses make the bridge actually unable to hold 3 tons. It may be open to pedestrian traffic only.

Councilman Naifeh said, “It’s ridiculous to fix a bridge and it won’t be accepted in one year.”

Martin said, “It isn’t me.”

Naifeh replied: “But you are enforcing it.”

Martin responded: “ODOT, federal, not me. Would you like the liability of something happening?”

“Of course not.” Naifeh said.

“I hate to see you put money into something that won’t pass in 2019,” said the inspector.

Rumsey remarked: “It is very popular!”

Councilman Anderson said it was built in 1921. “ Just don’t drive on it.”

Rumsey said, “We need to make it pedestrian only-safe. Twenty thousand  $20,000 would fix it to the pedestrian state, get it back to 4 tons. It would cost  one million and a half dollars to get back to automobile traffic.”

Anderson asked if there wasn’t a grant the city could apply for. City Manager Joan Riley said she has heard from “citizens (who) want it back open, and they are calling the city manager.  She also said it wasn’t safe for children to walk on because of the gaps in the trusses and crumbling edges. She advocated shutting it down to automobile traffic.

Rumsey mentioned that the Emergency vehicles have to travel Dixieland Road and “horseshoe back.” He also stated that the Route 66 Grant was applied for, but the city didn’t get it.

The ODOT inspector said that truss bridges are a great design and held up for over fifty years without trouble. “Real men built them,” he said. “It is a living creature, that lives and eventually dies. It is under compression and tension and not they are high maintenance (as they age) and takes special companies to work on them.”

Finally, no action was taken, as it was a formal, legally required presentation from ODOT.

Next, there were changes made to the HR Manual from 2009 to accommodate medical marijuana. It mostly concerns CDL drivers and all the information is online at the City website.

Major Rob Glenn, Division Commander for Sapulpa Police Department said that the recent seat belt awareness campaign had netted 1,209 seatbelt citations. The alcohol impairment awareness campaign is coming up, which will take longer and result in fewer citations because it takes 3 hours from a stop to the jail, dealing with the paperwork and trips to the hospital for blood tests. It was approved unanimously.

The next meeting is November 5th at 7 p.m.


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