U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) joined local and state officials last week for the official naming ceremony of the bridge over the Salt Fork of the Red River as the new U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe Bridge in Jackson County, Oklahoma. The original bridge, built in 1920, was deemed “structurally deficient” and, through the joint efforts of Sen. Inhofe, state and local officials, the new bridge is fully functional and has a life expectancy of 75 to 100 years.
“I am glad we could work together to replace the original dilapidated bridge in Jackson County with a modern, working bridge that will allow residents to get where they need to go,” Inhofe said. “Take the cotton farmers for example, who had to waste precious daylight hours driving 18 miles out of their way to cross the river. This bridge is a symbol of what good can happen when local, state and federal government works together like they are supposed to for the community.”
"A sound transportation system is the cornerstone of a vibrant economy and a leading factor in growing and attracting new business,” said State Representative Charles Ortega. “In rural Oklahoma, transportation infrastructure is vital in ensuring our agriculture production can make it from the farm to market. Senator Inhofe made certain this bridge provided that ability. We are grateful for the funding he was able to provide for this very important bridge construction."
“Thanks to Senator Inhofe's support and dedication to the people of Jackson County and southwest Oklahoma, we were able to compete the bridge project way ahead of schedule,” Kirk Butler, Jackson County Commissioner, said. “Naming the bridge after him is just a small token of our appreciation.”
“This bridge is vital to cotton farmers in Jackson County and I am proud we could name it after Sen. Inhofe to show our gratitude for his help,” said Glen Winters, Jackson County Farm Bureau Agent. “I am thankful for the Senator’s continued work in Washington for the farmers and ranchers in Jackson County and the people of Oklahoma.”
Inhofe has been a leader in improving the quality of state and local bridges and is continuing his work to improve bridges across Oklahoma. His Bridge Investment Act, included in America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act, establishes new opportunities for Oklahoma state and local governments to invest in bridges both on and off the National Highway System. Because of Inhofe’s work in the FAST Act, Oklahoma is a leader in having the fewest number of structurally deficient highway system bridges, but more work remains on hundreds of bridges. The Bridge Investment Act provisions gives Oklahoma additional tools to continue to address bridges across the state in need of repair or replacement. In total, this legislation provides up to $6.6 billion over five years to address the national backlog of bridge maintenance.