District 3: Road and Bridge Report
Don Hawthorne, County Commissioner District 3
The May flood is old news now, but the effect on our road work lasted much longer. More than half of the 625 miles of road in the Western District needed some degree of repair, from grading to complete rock replacement.
Twenty of our 135 bridges in the District needed some work, mostly debris removal. There were 5 road closures, all but one caused by tinhorn wash outs. Our biggest closure was the bridge on Cross Road over Sandy Creek. That one cost us over $50,000 in manpower, equipment and materials to get it open again.
We have been working with the Federal Highway Administration and Oklahoma Department of Transportation for reimbursement on the work we have done clearing out debris and working on road and bridge repair due to the flood. As of now, they approved us for $175,644.26 on 7 of our 9 projects involving major collector roads.
We have had several meetings with FEMA to get funds for three categories of damage: debris removal, emergency repair, and permanent work. It is too early to know how much money they will provide for our flood related damage.
During the night of the flood (May 22) and on into the next morning, Forman Kenny Kinder, A.D. Fischer, Flint Runyon, Melvin Beeson, Mark Barefoot, Carl Mullins, and Brad Jones were on hand to help rescue folks with the front-end loaders and graders. On Saturday, most of the District 3 crew cleared roads and made them passable, several men working with little to no sleep.
The County Barn became a meeting place for area residents that had been flooded to receive initial instruction on how to receive FEMA aid. Debbie McDonald did an excellent job as our coordinator.
Because of the flood damage, we are about 2 months behind getting started on oiling and chipping the 12 miles of roads we had planned for this summer. The road crew just started getting the mile of Bishop Road between Red Elk and Deyo Roads ready to oil and chip. Next we will work on Airport Road from Cache Road to the dead end. The latter is part of a partnered cooperative agreement between Comanche Nation, District 3 and the City of Cache. The rest of this partnered agreement are the streets on the east side of the City of Cache. Because of the delay caused by flooding, we are looking at the feasibility of contracting this portion out.
Under State Statute, we can provide assistance to the Public Schools in our District. We spread material on Indiahoma Public School’s playground. We removed dirt in the bar ditches at Cache Pubic School to allow the water to drain better along H Street. We hauled dirt to Chattanooga Public School’s ball diamond, and recycled the street in front on the school.
I have been coordinating completion of the County budget for 2015-16 again this year. After meeting with all elected officials and department heads to hear their budget requests, it totaled to $10,411,001.55. We have a projected revenue of $8,719,500. To develop a balanced budget, I looked at every possible area to make reductions without cutting workforce and required duties of county government. I expect to complete the process this month and have it ready to go before the Excise Board.
You can access this report monthly on the county website as well as the County Times. The official website (www.comanchecounty.us) is maintained by the Comanche County Public Information Officer.
And the rains came! And did they ever! We went to bed one night and the next morning the ponds were nearly full. Who would have thought? The rains came and about the time the guys had the roads back in shape, we would get another good one, and do it all over again.
We lost a lot of road material when the ditches could not carry the amount of water we would get all at once, and it would run over the road. We also lost two big tin horns. One across Pecan Road between 97th and 112th Streets and one on Meers-Porter Hill Road between 277 and 287 Roads. The tin horns cannot be installed when a foot or so of water is running through. Therefore, we have had to keep those roads closed until water recedes.
Before the rains started, the road crew worked on getting Airport Road between Coombs and Pecan Roads ready to oil and chip. They have Paint Road starting at the railroad tracks going north to the Cache Cemetery to mill and get ready to oil and chip. We have about 12 miles of roads that are scheduled to be oil and chipped this summer.
We had the ribbon cutting ceremony for 112th Street this past month. The road is complete only lacking the establishment of sod on the north end where the rains washed it out. But that did not dampen the celebration of a major project that involved the State, County and City and we all felt a sense of pride in this project.
We responded to a request from the Town of Faxon officials to patch some of their streets and to furnish several loads of dirt on which to build a pad and a fire station. Chattanooga VFD has agree to put a substation in the Town of Faxon. Our road crew recycled and shaped several more streets in Chattanooga to be oiled and chipped at a later date.
We had a plan-in-hand meeting with CEC Engineering and a representative from the utilities company on our Boulder Creek Bridge project on Airport Road between Cache and Gore Roads. The environmental review is about completed and we have had the primary review of the bridge plans. The next step is to acquire the necessary easement and move the utilities. If all goes well construction will began next summer.
We helped out the fairgrounds by removing the woodchips from the coliseum following the stock show.
ADDEMDUM to the Road and Bridge Report
I had written the Road and Bridge Report Saturday morning, and my editor (a.k.a. wife) had reviewed it.
In the early evening, we were watching radar and noticed that even though it was not raining in Cache, it seemed to hang over the mountains, and we turned on the scanner and heard that Panther Creek and Buford Lake were flooding. My wife began to notify all the folks whose numbers we knew that lived along Cache Creek to warn them of the possibility of flood water.
Later in the evening, we began to hear that Shady Lane in Cache was flooding. I heard the Cache Fire Chief call dispatch requesting a front-end loader from Comanche County District 3 I called Road Forman Kenny Kinder, who had also heard the request and called Arnold Fischer, Flint Runyan, Mark Barefoot and Melvin Beeson to take the loaders to Shady Lane to see if they could help. Carl Mullins and Brad Jones also reported to the County Barn to see where they could help.
After the water started to subside, the loaders were used to clear the logs and other debris from Cache Road between Cache Creek and Rock Creek Bridges. In addition to rescuing a number of people with the front end loader from Shady Lane and Rock Creek, the guys also helped save a young girl who had been hanging in a tree limb over rushing water for over two hours.
Kenny and the crew got home about daylight, just in time to put on some dry clothes and we started getting phone calls about washed out and damaged roads. The calls were coming in very fast and they were taking the time of the Road Forman. I asked Debbie McDonald and John Mark Fisher to set up a clearing house to receive calls and track road closures at the County Barn. I called dispatch to have the calls routed to the County Barn.
Kenny and 14 of our guys were out Sunday until about 6 or 7 in the evening working opening up roads and making the roads and bridges as safe as possible. They were out again Monday morning continuing to work on opening and fixing severely damaged and unsafe roads.
The County workers deserve a lot of credit. I have not worked with a more dedicated bunch of individuals, and I am proud to be associated with them.
District 3: Road and Bridge Report
Don Hawthorne, County Commissioner District 3
The past two months brought us four snow and ice events: February 16, 23, 27-28 and March 3-4-5. I want to thank Foreman Kenny Kinder and the guys who got out early and stayed on the job late to sand the major intersections and bridges. We received several requests from Medicine Park to sand their streets also.
The road crew has been working on Indiahoma Road preparing it for oil and chipping this summer. We will be resurfacing it from Lee Blvd. to Coombs Road. We replaced four very old concrete culvert cross drains with new tinhorns, which will make the road wider and safer.
We have 10 road projects that we plan to oil and chip this summer. We may add one or two additional ones, if time permits.
We continue to work with CEC Engineers on the streets on the east side of the City of Cache. To establish the scope of the project, we ask T&G Construction to core sample several locations to let us know what kind of base and how thick the asphalt is on the streets. This will determine the costs. A three party agreement has been signed with the City of Cache, Comanche Nation and the County. Part of this agreement includes Airport Road from Cache Road north to the dead end.
112th Street status: The aggregate and asphalt surface has been laid. In order to accommodate the truck traffic, there were 8 inches of rock aggregate and 7 inches of asphalt. Depending on the weather, the sod in the ditches should be laid in the next couple of weeks. Lawton has to put one head wall to a cross drain and stripe the road yet. A ribbon cutting has been scheduled for April 24th at 11:00 a.m. at the Goodyear west gate.
Since the Cache Road and 112th Street intersection is very dark, we have been working with the City of Lawton and Councilwoman Cherry Phillips to install a street light to make it safer. The cost will be shared between the City and County.
We had a plan-in-hand meeting with ODOT, CEC Engineering, and a CED engineer to replace the bridge on Airport Road just south of Cache Road. The new bridge may require buying additional right of way and utilities to be moved.
With the rains and warm weather, the grass is starting to grow. We are getting the mowing machines ready to start taking care of the roadways. We will be spraying the intersections and bridge areas with herbicides to kill the grass and weeds and make for better visibility.
If you have questions or concerns, I can be contacted at
or you may phone the Courthouse or County Barn and I will return your call.
You can access this report monthly on the county web site as well as the County Times. The official web site www.comanchecounty.us is maintained by the Comanche County Public Information Office.
Page 1 of 9