The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

6 August 2004

Lovely span, wonderful span

It's no secret that many Oklahoma bridges are in wretched condition. And there's one particular bridge that, as far back as I can remember, has always been in wretched condition: the Walnut Avenue overpass, which connects the Deep Deuce and Bricktown areas. (Walnut, south of Main, becomes Mickey Mantle Drive.)

Three years ago, a move to tear down the bridge entirely was foiled when then-Mayor Kirk Humphreys discovered that under state law, the Union Pacific railroad, whose tracks run under the bridge, could be billed up to half the cost of repairs.

The city has the money to fix the bridge — the Walnut Avenue project was funded in a 1989 bond issue — but the railroad has yet to consent to the repairs. In the meantime, Paul Brum, the city engineer, says that beams under the bridge are deteriorating, and therefore the bridge is closed until further notice; repairs should take about a year.

Posted at 7:38 AM to City Scene


Seems to me if the bridge is unsafe to drive across, it must also be unsafe to run trains under. Oklahoma has a railroad commissioner, doesn't it (I know Texas and Louisiana do)? Have him tell the UPRR that they have to re-route trains until that bridge is repaired.

It would be a shame if a railroad employee (Hello? Railroad union? Are you listening???) were injured by falling debris.

Or we could just tell the DNC that Union Pacific is sponsoring an ad critical of John Kerry...

Posted by: McGehee at 7:57 AM on 6 August 2004

This is handled by the Office of Rail Programs and Safety of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, which is located at NE 21st and, um, Walnut.

(Of course, they don't have to drive this bridge every day.)

Posted by: CGHill at 8:34 AM on 6 August 2004

I suggest offering a Union Pacific switchman an opportunity for a little cross-training: handling trackback on this post.

Sounds like UPRR needs to get off its caboose, for safety's sake, lest a spike in customer service complaints derail its good name and track record.

Posted by: Vic Call at 10:46 AM on 6 August 2004

Vic, I know a guy who would not be sidetracked at all by your puns. ;-)

Posted by: McGehee at 9:32 AM on 7 August 2004