theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

Local News

June 12, 2014

Meeting Monday to discuss Washita River bridge closure

Tishomingo — A popular bridge that Ada folks use heading to and from Lake Texoma may be demolished to construct a new one in its place, which will mean time-consuming detours for lakegoers.

The Washita River Bridge Impact Committee will hold a meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, June 16, at the Murray State College Campus Center in Tishomingo to discuss the bridge project. Oklahoma Department of Transportation has stated that the bridge could be closed for 18 months or longer while the new bridge is under construction.

The committee is concerned the decision by ODOT to dismantle the old bridge before a new one is built will cause extensive delays, disruption of ambulance, police and fire services and economic issues for Johnston County citizens.

A significant concern for area residents is the large number of trains crossing Highway 22 at Ravia, which creates delays of up to an hour.

"This could well be a life or death situation for Johnston County citizens," said Earl Brewer, committee chairman. "Ambulances as well as police and fire personnel use Highway 22 on a daily basis and a significant delay for a train could cause big problems. Alternative detours require travel to Sulphur or Durant, which is absolutely not acceptable."

Brewer pointed out that many students travel from Marshall, Bryan and Love counties to attend Murray State College and hundreds of others use Highway 377 to see medical personnel at Johnston County family health facility and the Chickasaw Clinic.

Tishomingo Mayor Tom Lokey said closing the bridge "could create a significant negative economic impact, which could be devastating to our advancing growth."

ODOT officials, Sen. Frank Simpson and Reps. Charles McCall and Tommy Hardin will attend the meeting.

Business owners, ranchers and citizens will have an opportunity to voice their concerns to authorities about the impact of the recommended bridge closure on daily life and business. The impact committee also encourages citizens from surrounding counties to attend.

For more information, contact Washita River Bridge Impact Committee Chairman Earl Brewer at (580) 371-5262 or Johnston County Chamber CEO) Seigel Huffington at (580) 371-6405.

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