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Why Are Repairs Being Made Along Highway 97 Between Sand Springs And Sapulpa?

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Traffic backs up on Highway 97 Tuesday. Traffic backs up on Highway 97 Tuesday.
Crews continue resurfacing work on Highway 97 Tuesday. Crews continue resurfacing work on Highway 97 Tuesday.
ODOT Engineer Randle White talks with The News On 6 Tuesday. ODOT Engineer Randle White talks with The News On 6 Tuesday.

By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6 

UNDATED --- No matter what road you drive down, you'll likely see construction. But the need for repairs isn't always apparent to motorists.

Paul Bush from Sand Springs wants to know why Highway 97 from Sand Springs through Sapulpa is being worked on.  He says the highway is perfectly fine.

From minor pot hole repairs to full-on bridge replacements, road construction in Tulsa is constant.

"Driving down the road, looking at it, there's no bumps and no hiccups or cracks in the road, nothing like that," Paul Bush said.

You can often see with the naked eye why some roads need repair.

I'm sitting here going there's nothing wrong with this highway," Bush said. "Why are replacing this particular highway? Is it because of stimulus money or a budget that needs to be spent?"

But that isn't always the case.

"You want to do your preventative maintenance up front and not wait until the road falls apart," Randle White, ODOT Division Engineer, said.

Starting at the river bridge in Sand Springs and stretching eight-and-half miles into Sapulpa, it's Highway 97's turn for a face lift.

"Every five to ten years you mill off the surface because the wear and tear polishes and reduces the pavement and reduces your ability to start and stop," White said.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation says engineers saw deterioration in the highway. Construction workers are basically scraping off the top layer and putting down a new one to prevent further damage the highway.

"This is something that is kind of like changing the oil in your car," White said.

Highway 97 is heavily traveled and traffic is heavier because of the construction but ODOT says the project should wrap up in September.  The project costs $2.5 million and is federally funded.

"It's the same way you have utility bills that you pay. Money put out for food. We separate that out," White said. "Ours have guidelines and criteria we have to use to spend the money."

School started on Friday in Sand Springs and traffic was at a standstill during both morning and evening rush hours, causing hundreds of kids to be late for class and late returning home.

For the latest road construction updates and information, check out the Daily Detour.

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