Oklahoma has become notorious for having some of the worst roads and bridges in the nation, but there is help from the state's largest Indian tribe.
News on 6 anchor Tami Marler shows us how the Cherokee Nation is helping to restore a vital bridge in Collinsville.
Broadway has historically been one of Collinsville's busiest roads. "A heavily traveled road through our commerce district on Broadway. Kind of been a by-pass of the stoplights. Kind of a faster moving road than our Main Street." But Collinsville Mayor Stan Sallee explains, more than 20 years ago, a vehicle struck a bridge on Broadway and did enough damage that the bridge had to be shut-down. "And lack of funds or for whatever reason, the bridge has been in this state until currently."
"I used this road as a kid growing up back in the '60s and I can remember coming through here, going to Oologah and it was like a bypass, not going through all the lights and everything." Cherokee Tribal Council member Buel Anglen says he never understood why the Broadway bridge was closed, so he was very interested in working with tribal, city and county officials to re-open it as a two-lane thoroughfare. "On this particular project right here, the Cherokee Nation has allocated $392,000 to this project. We have a Cherokee Community Organization here in Collinsville and we got to talking about different projects and that was one of the projects that the Cherokee people in this community wanted me to look into."
The project will help relieve some of the traffic on Collinsville's busy Main Street and it's one of the many Cherokee Nation partnerships that total tens of millions of dollars. "Over the last ten years or so we've spent about $32-million on road projects in northeast Oklahoma within the Cherokee Nation district." And they have more than $50-million budgeted for more projects to help communities like Collinsville.