AFTON - Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation hope repairs to a Oklahoma Highway 59 bridge east of Afton will allow the bridge to be reopened without load limits.

“Once the maintenance work is completed, the engineers will look at it and make a determination about whether the bridge will need a load limit, said ODOT Spokeswoman Brenda Perry. “Right now, they are hoping no load limit will need to be posted.

The bridge has been under repair for approximately two weeks. It sits over a Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroad line and is used as a truck route for carriers travelling to and from the Afton toll gate and access to U.S. Interstate 44. The bridge is also part of an access route for tourists and visitors travelling between the turnpike to Grove and other Grand Lake of the Cherokees communities.

The maintenance project, which has required day-time closure of the bridge, is expected to be completed as soon as Friday, but possibly not until early next week, Perry said.

The project was performed by ODOT forces and has included repairs to support beams beneath the bridge deck. The bridge and its approaches are scheduled for replacement in 2011 as part of a project with an estimated cost of $2.6-million, including right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation, Perry said.