Oklahoma is among the fastest-developing states in the nation. As of the third quarter of 2022, the state recorded a 5.5% GDP growth rate, ranking it third among the nation’s fastest-growing economies.
But despite being home to a thriving economy, the “Sooner State” faces several infrastructure hurdles. For instance, drivers spend about $394 annually on roads that need repair. In addition, about 10.2% of bridges here exhibit structural deficiencies. Thus, drivers have to practice extra caution when using them.
Knowing which bridges pose the most significant danger can help you stay safe. Fortunately, this comprehensive review will inform you about the counties with the worst bridges and the risks of using them.
1. Oklahoma County
Oklahoma County is home to the largest metro area in the state. Pioneers settled in this region during the “Land Run” of 1889, and the county is home to formerly renowned cattle ranches and trails. In addition, countless Western musicians, film stars, and entertainers call this region home.
Oklahoma County is also popular among tourists due to its welcoming residents, numerous attractions, and scenic locations. Whether you’re a first-time visitor, a resident, or visiting again, there’s much to see and explore. But first, you should learn about the region’s bridges posing the greatest risk.
The James C. Nance Memorial Bridge
The James C. Nance Memorial Bridge in Oklahoma City features narrow lanes, posing difficulties for vehicles to navigate safely. The limited space increases the risk of accidents and requires drivers to exercise caution. Additionally, the bridge experiences heavy traffic congestion, leading to potential collisions and delays. Motorists crossing this bridge should be vigilant, adhere to traffic rules, and anticipate the challenges posed by the narrow lanes and heavy traffic.
The Belle Isle Bridge
The Belle Isle Bridge in Oklahoma City has faced criticism for its poor design and inadequate capacity to handle traffic efficiently. As a result, the bridge often experiences congestion, leading to accidents and traffic delays. Drivers crossing this bridge should be patient, maintain safe distances, and stay alert to the changing traffic conditions to navigate the bridge safely.
The Interstate 40 Bridge
The Interstate 40 Bridge over the Oklahoma River in Oklahoma City is an aging infrastructure that poses risks to motorists. The bridge’s deteriorating condition raises concerns about its stability and safety.
Furthermore, the lack of proper lighting on the bridge presents visibility challenges, especially during nighttime. Drivers must exercise caution, reduce speed, and remain vigilant when crossing this bridge, particularly in low-light conditions.
2. Tulsa County
Tulsa earned its recognition as a county in Oklahoma in 1907. The county houses the second largest city in the state, a glimmering metropolis known for its vibrant nightlife, world-class attractions, and exclusive shopping spots ranging from unique to upscale.
Another notable aspect of Tulsa County is its home to one of America’s largest Art Deco architecture curations. The vibrant metropolitan also offers cultural attractions and numerous traveling destinations. But before you hit the road, please note that the county has some of the worst bridges in the state. Here are two of them:
The Keystone Dam Bridge
The Keystone Dam Bridge is our first example and is near Sand Springs. The greatest risk here is limited visibility, which results from the bridge’s design and surrounding landscape. This condition increases the chances of accidents, particularly during adverse weather conditions. Furthermore, the bridge is exposed to strong winds, making it difficult to maintain control of your vehicle.
The Arkansas River Bridge
Another dangerous bridge in Tulsa is the Arkansas River Bridge, which faces the challenges of heavy traffic congestion. The traffic volume here leads to potential accidents, delays, and heightened driver frustration. It also lacks emergency lanes, reducing the safety margin and making it difficult to respond promptly to incidents.
3. Garvin County
Garvin County is renowned for its historical significance, travel locations, and rich culture. Despite this, the region also has some dangerous bridges you should know about.
The Walnut Creek Bridge
The Walnut Creek Bridge in Lindsay is our first example. This structure has narrow lanes, and passing through it requires careful navigation, especially when faced with oncoming traffic. The bridge’s deteriorating construction could jeopardize its stability and increase the risk of accidents.
The Bridge Over Turkey Creek
The next bridge worth your attention is near Pauls Valley. This unnamed bridge goes over Turkey Creek, and its major setback is poor maintenance, which leads to structural issues and safety hazards. In addition, the structure has inadequate signage, which can lead to confusion and accidents.
The Chickasaw Creek Bridge
Garvin County is also home to the Chickasaw Creek Bridge near Stratford. This bridge faces a major flooding vulnerability during heavy rainfall, making it unsafe under such conditions. Furthermore, the bridge may have weight restrictions, so you’re better off avoiding it if you’re using a heavy vehicle.
4. Pittsburg County
Pittsburg County wouldn’t miss this comprehensive review. The jurisdiction was established on July 16, 1907 and served as a Choctaw land original county and boasts a long, rich history and economic significance. The founding county leaders thought the region’s coal production was comparable to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s. They, therefore, named their new county the same way but without the letter “h.” The region has experienced significant infrastructural growth since then. But like most counties in the US, it’s home to these crumbling bridges:
The Highway 69 Bridge
The Highway 69 Bridge is the first culprit, connecting McAlester and Eufaula. This bridge has narrow lanes, and some sections of the bridge lack proper guardrails. Another dangerous spot in Pittsburg County is the unnamed bridge near Longtown. It’s been here for quite some time, hence has some structural compromises due to limited maintenance.
The Bridge Near Savanna
You should also take note of the unnamed bridge near Savanna. Its aging nature, coupled with a lack of maintenance, compromises its integrity and safety. The bridge also lacks adequate signage, which can lead to accident-causing confusion.
5. Logan County
Logan County is known for its popular attraction, including Oklahoma Frontier Drug Store Museum, Oklahoma Territorial Museum, and Armstrong Auditorium. The region has also undergone significant economic progress and infrastructural development. However, Logan County has its fair share of crumbling infrastructure that needs work.
The Cottonwood Creek Bridge
For instance, the Cottonwood Creek Bridge near Guthrie is vulnerable to the forces of nature. This crucial infrastructure is prone to flooding during heavy rainfall and is known to cause temporary closures and treacherous driving conditions. Moreover, inadequate signage makes it difficult for drivers to navigate the section and increases accident risk.
The Bridge Over Deep Fork River
Drivers must also be aware of the unnamed bridge over Deep Fork River. The structure is near Langston and is known for its limited space, which makes it challenging for drivers to navigate with oncoming traffic. Moreover, it has an aging structure that can discourage any driver mindful of infrastructure integrity.
The Bridge Near Orlando
There’s also another unnamed structure near Orlando that poses equally great danger. The bridge goes over Spring Creek and has weight restrictions. In addition, some sections lack proper guardrails, and vehicles can easily veer off when faced with poor visibility or during accidents.
6. Custer County
Established in 1877, Custer County was named after General George Armstrong Custer. The general died in Montana’s Battle of the Little Bighorn, and the city’s founders honored his immense contribution. The county initially served as a mining town in the late nineteenth century. But upon the decline of mineral resources, residents turned to cattle ranching, which has grown to become the county’s primary economic activity.
Since its historical times, the county has achieved tremendous infrastructural growth. However, it’s home to some of the worst bridges in the state.
The Washita River Bridge
The first one is the Washita River Bridge near Clinton, which becomes impassable during heavy rainfall. In such adverse conditions, this bridge succumbs to flooding and compromises its stability. Additionally, weight restrictions come into play here, in addition to reported cases of poor visibility.
The Bridge Over Antelope Creek
There’s also the unnamed bridge that goes over Antelope Creek. This hazardous structure reveals signs of aging in its infrastructure. The bridge’s deteriorating construction raises concerns about potential structural issues, compromising its safety and stability. Moreover, insufficient signage adds to the risk, potentially causing confusion for drivers and increasing the chances of accidents or incorrect navigation.
The Bridge Over Sugar Creek
Be wary of the unnamed bridge over Sugar Creek. This structure has narrow lanes that require skillful navigation when dealing with oncoming traffic. Furthermore, some sections lack guardrails.
7. McCurtain County
If you’re looking for a welcoming destination with remarkable and serene places of interest, McCurtain County should be your next stop. Some of the most stunning locations are here, including the Ouachita National Forest and Beavers Bend, with the former wrapping the latter in a thick, colorful blanket.
Here, you’ll find trails for mountain biking, ATVs, horseback riding, and hiking as you explore the hardy oaks and tall pines forming the oldest forest in southern America. However, as you explore all these attractions, please steer clear of these bridges:
The Little River Bridge
The Little River Bridge near Idabel is among the most infamous safety hazards. The structure has great potential for structural failures, and its weight limitations restrict the kind of vehicles passing through.
The Bridge Over Glover River
Be extra careful when driving on the unnamed bridge over Glover River, which is susceptible to flooding during heavy rainfall. In addition, its location makes it quite impassible during adverse conditions, and the bridge’s deteriorating structure compromises its stability and safety.
8. Caddo County
Situated immediately west of the Greater Oklahoma metro area, Caddo County offers residents and travelers numerous attraction sites and travel opportunities. Here, the US discovered its first oil field in 1911 (Cement Field), and the county also boasts of being the first in the state to produce hogs, peanuts, and poultry.
But while you navigate this homely region, there are certain bridges that pose big risks. Here are two of them:
The Washita River Bridge
The Washita River Bridge near Binger is our top culprit. The structure surrenders to nature during heavy rainfall and is particularly susceptible to flooding, compromising its stability. In addition, this isn’t your typical route if you’re hauling heavy goods, as the bridge has weight restrictions.
The Canadian River Bridge
The Canadian River Bridge near Bridgeport is another risky structure thanks to its aging design. But besides its lack of maintenance, the bridge also has weight restrictions, and you might have to use a different route if your vehicle doesn’t heed the requirements.
9. Rogers County
“The best of both worlds” might be the most befitting description for Rogers County. The region retains its small-town, friendly atmosphere and is home to some of the state’s fastest-growing communities. In addition, the county offers extensive amenities typical of larger metropolitan areas.
Nestled on the historic Route 66, Rogers County balances the rural and urban charms. The county sits on northeastern Oklahoma’s green, rolling hills, with residents living only minutes away from Lake Oologah and Lake Claremore’s outdoor recreations. But when driving through this region, be mindful of these deficient bridges:
The Verdigris River Bridge
The Verdigris River Bridge near Catoosa is the first example of this crumbling infrastructure. The aging structure is weathered, raising concerns about safety and potential structural failures. Moreover, this bridge imposes weight restrictions, cautioning against heavier vehicles or substantial loads.
The Bird Creek Bridge
Next, we have the Bird Creek Bridge near Owasso. The structure is a testament to the delicate balance between capacity and safety. Besides placing restrictions on weight, the bridge exhibits a state of disrepair. Consequently, you must always be cautious while navigating this risky yet important bridge.
10. Love County
Love County is on the southern border of Oklahoma state. The region’s rich history dates back to the late 18th century, soon after its first pioneers set foot here. These new inhabitants settled here to leverage the region’s fertile soils for crop and animal farming.
The county is home to one of the few original Stuckey’s stores. From a broad range of kitschy souvenirs and pecan treats to its familiar sloped roof, the region promises nostalgic road trips that’ll leave you feeling like you’re on a journey down memory lane. Despite these attractions, the county is home to some of the worst bridges in the state.
The Red River Bridge
The Red River Bridge near Thackerville is the most notorious of them all. Though crucial to the region, the bridge, this weathered structure carries a heavy burden of age, raising concerns about safety and the potential for structural failures. In addition, it has weight restrictions that could force a section of motorists to use alternative routes.
The Bridge Over Washita River
Be wary of the unnamed bridge over Washita River near Leon. This structure dances a delicate line between beauty and danger as it faces an immense flooding risk. Additionally, the bridge’s stability is compromised, presenting hazards to intrepid drivers.
Driving Safely Across The Worst Bridges In Oklahoma
Oklahoma State faces several challenges in terms of infrastructure, and some of the bridges in this historically crucial state may give you second thoughts about your trip. But don’t change your plans. Instead, consider some essential preventive measures to navigate these risky structures safely and easily.
For instance, always reduce your speed and approach the bridge cautiously to allow space between your vehicle and others. It’s also important to pay attention to any posted weight restrictions or warnings and comply accordingly.
While driving, maintain a steady grip on the steering wheel, keep both hands engaged, and avoid distractions that can divert your attention. Additionally, prepare for narrow lanes, uneven surfaces, or potential obstacles, maintain a safe driving distance, and be mindful of potential crosswinds. Lastly, always stay vigilant and ready to react to any sudden changes in road conditions.
Summary of 10 Oklahoma Counties Have the Worst Bridges
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