City officials are planning a big move for a historic bridge north of downtown Catoosa following a meeting earlier this week.
Most Catoosa residents are familiar with the Rice Street Bridge, which crosses Spunky Creek along historic Route 66. It’s that bridge that will soon be replaced by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation with a wider, newer bridge.
Tulsa’s Channel 8’s community newspaper partner, the Catoosa Times, reported that the Rice Street Bridge has now outlived its use at Spunky Creek. But despite it being 100-years-old, the city of Catoosa still plans to use that bridge elsewhere in the community.
City staffers, including City Planner Greg Collins, have suggested the city use the bridge as a pedestrian walkway along Cherokee Street, south of Pine Street. Collins suggested a refurbished bridge could be used as part of the Safe Routes to School grant project.
If that happens, the city will place the bridge along the east side of Cherokee, between Catoosa High School and Pine. Collins has said there are two ravines to cross and this bridge will cross one of them, according to the newspaper.
Rogers County Commissioner Kirt Thacker said the county is helping in the effort to move the old bridge.
“It’s in poor shape,” Thacker said. “That’s one reason you’re not driving on it.”
Thacker went on to state that Rogers County will move pieces of the bridge to the city’s maintenance yard after ODOT dismantles it.
City Engineer Craig Kupec said the bridge will have to be reconditioned before placing it along Cherokee. That portion of the project will be “somewhat labor-intensive,” he said.
Another obstacle in this project is an existing water line that would need to be moved, according to the newspaper’s report. Kupec has been asked how much moving that water line would cost the city.
He estimated it would cost, on the high end, $42,000.
“It’s possible to excavate rather than bore,” Kupec said. “That, I feel, would be on the high side.”
Brian Kellogg, owner of Kellogg Engineering, said there is no way around moving the 8-inch water line and would need to be moved to accommodate the new bridge. He added that the line is “laying in the way of construction.”
“We have a plan that will suffice for your water line,” he told Catoosa officials.
The old roadway is about 20 feet wide, Kellogg said. The new roadway would be 12-foot lanes and 2-foot shoulders on both sides.
Thacker said the bottom line is the water line must be moved.
“If that line doesn’t’t get moved, that bridge is staying like it is.”
The city council had both of these items on its Aug. 5 agenda. Councilors approved salvaging the old bridge by a vote of 7-0. The second item addressed moving the water line, which councilors also approved 7-0.