Oklahoma Transportation Commission has awarded a $43m contract to Jensen Construction for the replacement of Willis Bridge over Lake Texoma in the US.

Jensen Construction emerged as the lowest of eight bidders for the project.

Willis Bridge on the SH-99/US-377 highway links Madill in Marshall County, Oklahoma, and Whitesboro in Grayson County, Texas.

According to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT), the modernised bridge will be wider and longer than the current structure, and will be constructed to the east.

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The old bridge will be demolished and an approaching roadway constructed at each end of the new bridge.

The length of the replaced bridge will be 5,462ft with two 12ft-wide driving lanes and 10ft-wide shoulders on each side.

“This bridge requires maintenance on a regular basis which can have economic impacts and affects the travelling public.”

Of the 38 piers that will support the bridge deck, the tallest will stand approximately 80ft from the top of the deck to the lake bed.

ODOT engineer Anthony Echelle said: “This bridge requires maintenance on a regular basis which can have economic impacts and affects the travelling public. We’re pleased to see this new bridge begin, it will far outlive its predecessor.”

The replacement work on the 58-year-old bridge is expected to commence early next year and is scheduled to be completed in nearly two and a half years, subject to weather conditions and other factors.

Texas will share about half of the project cost, while the remaining portion will be financed by federal funds.

Until completion of the replacement bridge and the approaching roadway at each end, motorists will continue to drive on the old bridge. Approximately 2,800 vehicles travel across the Willis Bridge each day.