From a single log bridge in 1889 to a four-lane modern marvel, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation officially dedicated the new SH-33 Cottonwood Creek bridge in Guthrie with a ribbon cutting Tuesday afternoon. The almost $18 million bridge replacement and widening project is nearly complete with minimal lane closures remaining while the contractor finishes painting the bridge this month.
Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Mike Patterson said the new four-lane bridge, spanning 1,600 feet from 12th St. to Division St., will serve as a gateway to historic downtown Guthrie.
“We’re pleased to partner with the City of Guthrie and the community during this two-year process to bring much-needed improvements to SH-33,” Patterson said. “Designed by ODOT personnel, this bridge combines the best of modern engineering with aesthetics that complement the city’s historic beauty.”
Features include 10-foot pedestrian walkways in each direction linking downtown with nearby residential and park areas, street lights, arches and a stamped concrete design that echoes the bridge’s past as a Works Progress Administration project. Visitors to the east end of the bridge will find a pathway to a historic marker that tells the bridge’s story.
This 40-foot-tall project at its highest point replaces a structurally deficient two-lane bridge built in 1936, meaning it remained safe for traffic but required significant maintenance to remain in service. In addition, heavy rainfall events often would force the closure of the bridge due to flooding.
“Securing the connection between the east and west portions of our city not only improves our citizens’ safety during inclement weather but the bridge also serves as an inviting gateway for visitors to come see all that historic Guthrie has to offer,” said Guthrie Mayor Steven J. Gentling.
Eight city streets no longer have direct access to SH-33 because foot traffic is rerouted to the new sidewalks on the bridge and to keep traffic clear of railroad right-of-way.
Former state Sen. AJ Griffin spoke about former two-term Guthrie mayor and lifelong resident Jon Gumerson, highlighting his commitment to the community before his passing in 2012. Griffin and former Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, sponsored the 2014 legislation naming it as the Mayor Jon Gumerson Memorial Bridge.
Manhattan Road & Bridge Construction of Tulsa was awarded the project, which began in January 2017.
Although the bridge is expected to be open to traffic by the end of the week, drivers should still expect various lane closures through December as crews wrap up final touches to the project. Once completed, the new speed limit will be set at 35 mph.
Photo: Officials cut the ribbon to dedicate the SH-33 Cottonwood Creek bridge Tuesday afternoon, which is expected to open to four lanes of traffic by the end of this week. Picture are, from left, Stillwater Resident Engineer Matt Mitchell, Guthrie Mayor Steven J. Gentling, ODOT Executive Director Mike Patterson, former state Sen. AJ Griffin, Ginger Gumerson-Simpson, Gregg Gumerson, Manhattan Road & Bridge project manager Landry Logan, ODOT Division 4 Engineer Brian Taylor.