By Joey McWilliams
DURANT – Traffic can be difficult on the first day school in any year. It may be more difficult than usual at Durant High School this year.
The bridge is still out.
Passage over Chuckwa Creek on North First Avenue (State Highway 78) continues to be shut down as the bridge is still under construction.
First Avenue was bisected in May, right after the end of the DISD school year and construction has been going on through the summer.
The contract for the work had a fixed completion date, according to Trenton January, who is the Engineering Manager for Division 2 of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. That date was supposed to be Aug. 15.
Unfortunately, the project has had some delays.
“We ran into some unforeseen issues with an unknown utility and unknown existing structures that got in the way of construction,” January said. “So we gave them some days for those unforeseen problems, which gave them a new ‘complete by’ date of early September.
“Now if they don’t reach that date, there is an incentive/disincentive on this contract. That means if they finish the job before that date, they can get a bonus, but if they complete it after that date, it will be a disincentive rate of $10,000 a day.”
An exact date was not given, only ‘early September.’
The project has been contracted out to C3 Construction, based in Ada.
In the mean time, those who travel the north portion First Avenue or are used to getting to businesses and residences on or near First Avenue from the north have had to take different routes.
DHS students who drive and parents transporting their students to the high school should be prepared for alternative passage and likely additional drive time for at least the first few weeks of school.