ODOT: Debris On OK Highways Both Dangerous And Costly

Thursday, December 1st 2016, 10:41 pm
By: News On 6

Video from our Osage Casino SkyCam network captured an SUV hitting a wheelbarrow in the middle of Highway 169.

The driver is unhurt but her SUV suffered thousands of dollars in damage.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation do what they can to both keep the highways clear of debris, and hold those who leave trash on the road accountable.

Trash, car parts, and even broken down cars are just some of the things you can often see while driving down Oklahoma highways.

Not only is that debris dangerous, it's also costing you millions of dollars.

A gray wheelbarrow in the far left lane of Highway 169 forced several cars to swerve out of the way – a school bus was even forced onto the shoulder.

Then, as a black SUV merges onto Highway 169 near 61st Street, a van in front of it swerves to avoid the wheelbarrow, giving the SUV driver little time to react before hitting it.

12/1/2016 Related Story: Caught On Camera: SUV Hits Wheelbarrow On Tulsa Highway

OHP Trooper Dwight Durant said the driver did the right thing by getting off the roadway after the collision.

"Whatever it is, get out of the roadway," he said.

Debris on Oklahoma highways is nothing new, according to ODOT spokesperson Kenna Mitchell.

"Certainly it is a very dangerous situation that we try to respond to as quickly as we can," she said.

And it’s expensive for Oklahomans, too.

Mitchell said, "It's something that we spend about $4 million a year on, is just picking up litter and debris along Oklahoma highways."

It’s also something OHP considers a high priority.

Durant said, "We are always looking for people because it's such a problem."

He said most debris on the road falls off commercial vehicles or from people moving.

Mitchell said, "As we've seen a lot lately, drivers just don't secure their loads."

Once the debris is reported, ODOT crews get sent right away.

"We try to make sure that we get a good description of the location, the direction, and that helps us zero in faster," said Mitchell.

OHP can write you a ticket for failure to secure your load.

Durant said, "That allows us to be able to stop that vehicle without having to wait for the debris to fly out."

To report debris on roadways you can dial STAR-55, or, call 918-838-9933 specifically for the Tulsa metro area.