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5NEWS Investigates Bypass Safety Concerns In Poteau

POTEAU (KFSM) — Highway 59 Bypass in Poteau has become a point of concern for those who use it each day. Recently, 5NEWS has gotten several messages and a...

POTEAU (KFSM) -- Highway 59 Bypass in Poteau has become a point of concern for those who use it each day.

Recently, 5NEWS has gotten several messages and a cell phone video shared on Facebook that shows chunks of concrete that had fallen from the bypass onto the road below.

“If there is something wrong with the bridge, someone has to definitely look at it and get it fixed,” said Ryan Rollison who says he uses the bypass daily.

In response, we reached out to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) to find out if it’s safe.

“The bridge is structurally sound. This is simply cosmetic caused by the expansion of the concrete and the joints,” said ODOT Spokesperson Annahlyse Meyer.

Meyer also says this problem is common and says there’s very little chance the concrete would fall into the driving lanes.

Moreover, one year ago, ODOT installed netting underneath the bypass to catch the concrete if it falls. However, the netting does not cover the median area where people reported having seeing the chunks of concrete.

At this point, Meyer said a long-term fix would require a bridge rehabilitation project which will require expansion joint and beam replacement. It’s something that has never been done to the bridge since it was completed in 2004.

She says the bypass is scheduled to be on ODOT’s “to do” list next summer.

The rehabilitation project is expected to cost under $100,000.

In the meantime, if people encounter problems with the bypass, contact ODOT.

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