PICHER - The load limit on U.S Highway 69 going into Picher has been increased, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation confirmed.

Brenda Perry, a member of the public affairs division, said ODOT has been monitoring the highway in the area for some time. “There hasn't been any changes, she said.

Consequently, last week ODOT crews increased the posted load limit from 12 tons to 30 tons - 40 tons is the legal weight limit, Perry said.

Additionally, Perry confirmed ODOT had increased the speed limit from 45 miles per hour to 65 mph on U.S. Highway 69 near Picher.

ODOT will continue to monitor the highway and will make changes, if necessary, Perry said.

In December 2005, ODOT took emergency action after a team of scientists studying subsidence in the Tar Creek Superfund site expressed their concerns.

Sinkholes opened up an estimated 45 feet off the roadway and 100 yards south of Rascal's convenience store in March of 2005 and once before in 1965.

Following a meeting with subsidence team members from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Geological Survey and Oklahoma Geological Survey, officials at ODOT set the 12-ton limit.

on the road.