Union Pacific: East Maine bridge OK for train traffic

Damage to the railroad bridge on East Maine is pictured after it was hit by a truck Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. (Billy Hefton / Enid News & Eagle)

The damaged railroad bridge over East Maine was reopened several hours after it was hit by a semi-trailer truck on Saturday afternoon.  

An Enid Police Department official reported Sunday the bridge was temporarily closed to trains, but Union Pacific Railroad had reopened the bridge late Saturday night. 

A full inspection was performed on the bridge Saturday afternoon and evening, Union Pacific spokesman Jeff DeGraff said.

At approximately 10 p.m. Saturday, a train was cleared to travel over the bridge, he said. The inspection team watched the train pass over and reinspected the bridge.

"At that time, they determined that the bridge was safe to resume normal operations," DeGraff said. "We've been operating over that bridge since Saturday night. 

"There was some damage done to the underside of the bridge that will need to be repaired, but, at this time, is not presenting a safety hazard."

The damage will be monitored during regular, routine inspections of the bridge, he said.

"If they seem to be exacerbating or increasing in any way, at that point, we'd take the bridge out of service to do the repairs," DeGraff said. "For right now, the damage is acceptable and we can continue to run trains through it."

Long term, there are no plans to address the bridge frequently being hit by trucks, he said.

"As all of our bridges, it is routinely inspected, both annually and intermittently during the year. We'll watch the damage that's there, as well as any new damage, and determine during those inspections whether or not it needs to be addressed right away. As of right now, as far as just voluntary upgrades or any changes like that, it's not currently on any of our lists, but, obviously, those lists change and we update them."

For years, city of Enid officials have discussed how to prevent trucks from hitting the bridge.

Most recently, in a January study session, several approaches were presented to minimize accidents, including printing signs on the street, placing more street signs, radar detection and video detection. 

City officials plan to continue the efforts in place with the shark teeth painted on the bridge, and add signs telling trucks to exit, City Manager Jerald Gilbert said.

It was proposed signage be placed telling truck drivers traveling west to turn on 3rd, and those traveling east to exit on 2nd before the bridge.

“So they get a warning when they get to the beginning of the block, and then there’s another on the street sign that says, ‘Turn now,’” Gilbert said.

No action was taken in the meeting.

City spokesman Steve Kime said Monday he is not aware of any additional commissioner discussions on the bridge since the meeting in January.

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Involved in news reporting for about 15 years, I've been with the Enid News & Eagle since 2014, when my family moved to Enid to be on the family farm.