May Avenue Bridge Over Northwest Expressway Collapses

Part of the May Avenue bridge over the Northwest Expressway collapsed Thursday.

Initial reports indicate the bridge collapsed around 2:40 p.m., after a tractor-trailer heading westbound crashed into the bridge.

It was a terrifying sight to those who drive over the bridge daily.

“Absolutely incredible,” said Karan McWaters. “It’s just unbelievable.”

“When I heard this on the news, well, I thought I have to come and see what it looks like, because now I can’t go straight down May Avenue to Michael’s,”  said Dwe Williams.

The city said the bridge was built in 1952.

The clearance on each side is four inches apart.

“It’s not uncommon for one half of a bridge to be marked a different height than the other just due to the slope of the bridge itself,” said Eric Wenger, the Oklahoma City Public Works Director.

The driver of the truck told police he passed under the other side of the bridge earlier with no issue.

One side of the bridge has a maximum height of 14 feet and eight inches.

The side that collapsed only has a maximum height of 14 feet and four inches.

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Bobby Stem studies bridges.

He said this one, like other older bridges, lacks sheer connectors.

“They pour the concrete down in between those sheer connectors, and it all becomes one piece at that time. So, if you hit it, everything wiggles, but it may not fall down. So, in this case, it’s an older bridge. You had a bridge beam, and you had the concrete deck on top of it. Bridge beam was hit. It shifted. The entire thing fell down,” Stem said.

It is a scary thought for drivers who cross Oklahoma bridges everyday.

“It’s just crazy to think what if someone was driving on that,” McWaters said.

No injuries have been reported at this time.

May Avenue and the Northwest Expressway are closed in all directions where they intersect due to the bridge collapse.

Officials said engineers are evaluating the damage to the bridge and an estimate on the time needed for repairs won’t be available until the evaluation is complete.

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