TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma - The city of Tahlequah has a new way to protect its residents when streets flood.

Flooding is a problem at the low water crossings around town. Joseph Lopez said the rushing water is something to see.

“It's pretty scary. It sounds like a raging river," he said.

For years, Tahlequah city leaders looked for a way to keep people out of the floodwaters. Now, they have it - five permanent flood barriers across the city, costing nearly $4,000.

"Hopefully, it's going to save some lives, of course, but it'll also be a good thing to help with liability within the city," said Mike Underwood with Tahlequah Emergency Management.

The storm water department helped pay for them and the streets department built and installed them.

When there’s heavy rain the low-water crossings fill up fast.

Before the city had the five permanent flood barriers they used temporary wooden ones, but drivers would often go around them, and children would get into mischief with them.

“That's what the problem was. The kids come in there and take them down, and throw them in the river and watch them float down," Lopez said.

It used to take several crews lining up the temporary wooden barriers around town. Now it takes one person with a key.

All of Tahlequah’s emergency agencies will have keys to the gates, so someone will always be able to close or open them.