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Questionable commemoration



The state Department of Transportation developed a series of 25 postcards featuring photos of important events or projects the department has been involved in, such as a barge navigating the Arkansas River; the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Turner Turnpike; Wiley Post standing in front of his airplane; and the Interstate 40 bridge collapse near Webbers Falls.

Wait, what was that last one, again? An aerial photo on one side of the card shows the collapsed bridge, still draped across the barge that struck it, causing it to weaken and collapse.

The free postcards give a brief description on the reverse side, and the Webbers Falls card states: “2000s — Tragedy strikes: When an errant barge knocked down a section of the I-40 bridge near Webbers Falls in 2002, 14 motorists died.” The description goes on to state how the tragedy became a catalyst for transportation improvements throughout the state, followed by the words “JOIN THE CELEBRATION – 100 Years of Transportation 1911-2011.”

An individual posting the card on Facebook wrote that they were speechless when they saw it and had to take a picture of it to prove they were not hallucinating. People commenting on the photo stated, among other things, that the card was a “marketing fail.” “Next in the series: Murrah Building. Caption: ‘Downtown Oklahoma City is really poppin’!’” one facetious Facebook friend commented.

Mills Gotcher, spokeswoman for ODOT, said the cards were intended to show historical events that had an impor tant impact on the department. The card was not meant to be insensitive to the victims of the collapse, Gotcher said, but rather highlight an event that ended up having a major impact on funding for roads and bridges throughout the state.

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