Cherokee Nation Replaces Bridge Using Innovative Technology

Aug. 23, 2022
Using the Fast Cast Bridge approach, the bridge is expected to be open in a week

Back in May, catastrophic flooding left damage near the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Oklahoma, specifically on the bridge near Bald Hill Road. In order to reverse the damage done, the Cherokee Nation is using a new and innovative method to fix it.

The joint venture from the Cherokee Nation Department of Transportation and Infrastructure and Cherokee County District 3 to repair the bridge will utilize a Fast Cast Bridge to reopen a main community road that has been closed since the flooding.

“From our historic self-governance agreement with the United States to these kinds of innovative construction techniques, we are in a new era of progress in improving roads and bridges across the Cherokee Nation Reservation,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.

A Fast Cast Bridge is a totally new approach that saves time by using steel forms constructed in a manufacturing facility, as well as prefabricated concrete beams.

“We are always looking for ways to expedite the construction process for road and bridge projects,” said Michael Lynn, executive director of the Cherokee Nation Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. “This innovative approach to constructing bridges was something that caught my eye recently, and I felt that Bald Hill Road was a perfect location for the Fast Cast Bridge system. This system allows bridges to be built in weeks rather than months.”

The Fast Cast Bridge was delivered to the Bald Hill Road site last week. The concrete is set to be placed to fill bridge walls and to create a deck and floor for the bridge afterward. The bridge is expected to reopen to traffic in approximately a week.

“The community has had to use an alternate route, adding a 2.5-mile detour since the bridge failed in May,” said Andy Quetone, Cherokee Nation Director of Transportation.

“The Cherokee Nation Department of Transportation is excited about using a proven, innovative method to replace old and damaged bridges on our Reservation. This process will take bridge replacement from a usual 60- to 90-day repair or replacement to a few weeks, creating less disruption for citizens’ lives and allowing for safer travel in a timelier manner.”

The Cherokee Nation is using the federal Tribal Transportation Program, part of the Federal-Aid Highway Program (FAHP) to fund the $700,000 project.

The Cherokee Nation’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure plans to use this technology in the future to speed up other road and bridge projects.



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