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District 3:  Road and Bridge Report

Don Hawthorne, County Commissioner District 3

 

The rains that came this past weekend caused almost as much damage to the roads and bridges as last year’s May floods.  The Road Foreman Kenny Kinder, along with Dennis Long, Arnold Fisher, Flint Runyan, Melvin Beeson, James Morehead, and Tyler Fletcher spent most of the day Sunday, (17th) assessing the damage and putting up road blocks and barricades.

Our Administrative Assistant, Betty Berthold announced her retirement effective May 5th.  Betty has 35 years of service with Comanche County starting in 1981, working for the County Clerk and for the past 17 years, she has worked at the District 3 County Barn under Commissioners Larry Buchwald, Susan Ulrich, and me. She is well deserving of her retirement and we wish her good luck and happy days. 

The asphalting of the Cache streets east of 1st Street has been completed.  As mentioned before, this was a joint project involving Comanche County, City of Cache and the Comanche Nation Transportation Department.  The County provided the engineering and went through the bid process to select a contractor.  The City repaired the curb and gutter and replaced tinhorns, and the Tribe did the inspection and will reimburse the County for the contractor’s costs for laying the aggregate and asphalt.  A total of 2 miles of streets was replaced.

The road crew is recycling roads getting them ready to oil and chip this summer. Paint Road from the railroad tracks north to Rogers Lane, New Hope from Hurst Rd to S.H. 36, Coombs Rd from 82nd to 112th  St.  If time permits, McIntosh Rd from S.H. 58 east for about a mile.  An old wooden bridge was replaced on 4-Mile Road near the Caddo County line with two tinhorns. 

The accident on US 62 totaled the old dump truck used for patching.  So we went out for bids for one or more 2000 or newer single axle dump trucks.  The only used truck bids that was received did not meet our specs, so we selected the bid for two new 2017 International trucks.  One will replace the patch truck and the other will be used with the backhoe.  We will take delivery on them next month.

At the request of the Mayor of Faxon, we will haul off debris from the wind storm that caused considerable amount of damage in his town.  If the town folks will bring it to the curb, we will haul it to the dump.

As spring has set-in, the crew has been spraying herbicide on the bridge approaches and the intersections to improve visibility.   We are getting the mowers ready and will start mowing full time soon. We are proud of the two new John Deere tractors and mowers we bought last year.

The guys assisted the Comanche County Fairground by hauling off wood chips from a livestock show and loaning them our bucket truck to repair their flag pole.

If you have questions or concerns, I can be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you may phone the County Barn at 580-4293217. 

 

 

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District 3:  Road and Bridge Report
Don Hawthorne, County Commissioner District 3
 
The first two months of the year have passed quickly and busily.  We responded to quite a lot of calls about trees down in the road ways and in, or near, right of ways.  This was due to the drought we experienced, and now strong winds are blowing them down.  
 
We have started to get some roads ready to be oil and chipped this summer. We have completed “G” Street between 1st and 2nd Streets in Cache.  This is part of a larger project that is in cooperation with the City and Comanche Nation Transportation Department.  Starting March 14th , T& G Construction will begin the resurfacing of the streets east of 1st Street.
 
We are currently preparing Paint Road from the railroad tracks north to Rogers Lane ready to be oil and chipped this summer.  We also recycled the street by the low income housing in Chattanooga.
 
We recycled Tennessee and 34th Streets near Lawton, but in our District.  We put in a tin horn and fixed the bar ditches so it will drain better.
 
Responding to a number of requests to put the center stripe on the bridges on Cache Road, we went out for bid.  The low bidder used a hand pushed striper with a string line.  As a result, the center lines aren’t very straight, but they are marked.  It was about a third of the cost of the bid for a machine striper, but we will most likely go with a machine striper next time for a better result.
 
We rented a crack sealer again this year to use on our asphalt roads.  Sealing the cracks extends the life of the roads, sealing out the water from getting down in the road surface and allowing the freezing temperature to then break up the asphalt.
 
At the request of the schools, we took several loads of gravel to the Indiahoma and Chatty FFA barns.  Some of our crew helped the Comanche County Fair Grounds with clearing out the dirt from the exhibition building following the horse and livestock shows and we hauled off the wood chips from the hog and goat shows.
 
The abandoned truss bridge over Sandy Creek on Holsey Acres Road was washed into the creek by the May 23 flood.  We salvaged it and sold it as scrap iron and got over $1,100 for it.  I tried to sell it a number of years ago and only got an $800 bid.  Now we have it out of the creek and a little money in our operating fund. 
 
We are continuing to work with FEMA and have most of the damage caused by the May 23rd flood repaired and have received reimbursement for most of it.  However, we are still working with them to try to close out the projects from the 2009 ice storm.  FEMA owes District 3 about $850,000 for the work done on damage related to that storm.
 
It has been tradition that the County digs the graves in the rural and small town cemeteries.  Since January 1, we have dug 15 graves.  There is no charge for this service, unless it falls on a weekend where we have to pay overtime.  The funeral home in charge contacts the County when this service is needed. 
 
If you have questions or concerns, I can be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you may phone the County Barn at 580-429-3217. 

 

 

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District 3:  Road and Bridge Report

Don Hawthorne, County Commissioner District 3

Spring, summer and fall, when the low temperature is above 50 degrees is our road oil and chipping season. The May floods and subsequent clean up and repair delayed us starting as early as we would have liked to do. Therefore, we ran behind getting to the roads we had scheduled for this year. We were lucky to have a longer than usual warm season.

The roads that we have oil and chipped are Bishop between Deyo and Red Elk Roads, Indiahoma from Lee Blvd. to Coombs, Hillary from Meers Porterhill to State Highway 58, Airport Road from Cache Road north to the end of the road, Wildflower Circle in the City of Cache, Airport Road from Coombs to Pecan Road, Coombs Road from County Road 115 to Airport Road, and portions of streets in Pecan Valley South, Wichita Mountain Estates and Pecan Valley North.

In cooperation with the Comanche Nation, we have gone out for bid to asphalt the streets on the east side of the City of Cache. That bid opening will be on November 9th at the Comanche County Board of County Commissioner’s meeting.

We patched the pot holes on Indiahoma Road from U.S. 62 to the Refuge gate. Ft. Sill had 138 low water crossings wash out during the May flood. The heavy trucks hauling gravel to repair them and trucks coming from the dismantling of Job Corp caused the road to deteriorate more than it would have normally. Also our crew worked at smoothing out some rough spots west of Indiahoma.

At the request of the residents in Pecan Valley South, a street light was installed at the corner of 112th Street and Cache Road to light the dark intersection. A portion of the intersection is in the Lawton City limits, therefore an agreement was reached between the City and County to share in the cost of the installation and operation of the street light.

We purchased a new oil distributor truck to be used in our oil and chipping operation. It replaces one that was bought in 1992, and required continuous repairs to keep it operating. In our continuing effort to upgrade the equipment, we purchased two new John Deere tractors and mowers. We picked up 9 pickup trucks off of State surplus to replace ours that have high mileage.

As a result of the new acquisitions, we are selling via the bid process a number of pickups, tractors and some heavy equipment. If you are interested, you may inquire at the District 3 County Barn at 907 H Avenue in Cache.

Tinhorns were installed in the City of Cache and Town of Chattanooga. At the request of Cache Public Schools, we cleaned out the bar ditches in front of the school along H Avenue.

About 10:00 p.m. on October 12th, Road Foreman, Kenny Kinder got a call from dispatch concerning a 40 pound box of roofing nails that had been spilled along Cache Road from Hop-N-Sak to Airport Road. Kenny, Flint Runyan, James Morehead, and Carl Mullins hooked our 5-foot industrial strength magnet on the loader and picked up nails in the roadway and went out the next morning and ran the magnet over the shoulder of the road.

About 2:00 a.m. on the 16th of October, Kenny got a call from dispatch requesting a grader and loader at a wildfire at Lee Blvd. and Bigbow Road.  He, Flint Runyan and Dennis Long responded to provide assistance.

If you have questions or concerns, I can be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it 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.

 

 
 

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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.   

If you have questions or concerns, I can be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you may phone the Courthouse or County Barn and I will return your call.

 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.

 

 

District #3 April Road & Bridge Report

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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.

 

If you have questions or concerns, I can be contacted at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or you may phone the Courthouse or County Barn and I will return your call.

 

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.

 
 
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