Funding To Repair Damaged Nowata County Roads Running Low

Monday, June 15th 2015, 6:14 pm
By: News On 6

More Oklahoma counties were declared disaster areas. FEMA has added seven more counties to its federal disaster declaration.

That means people in Wagoner, Seminole, Beckham, Caddo, Canadian, Marshall and McIntosh counties can now apply for state and federal help.

6/15/2015 Related Story: Seven Oklahoma Counties Added To Federal Disaster Declaration

With the additions, 20 Oklahoma counties have been declared federal disaster areas. Nowata County isn't one of them, but several roads and bridges are underwater after recent storms and some families are even stranded near the Verdigris River.

Any extra rain will make it even worse for crews working to fix the damage, and Nowata County said it's running out of money.

County road crews have worked around the clock to replace things like washed out culverts. The county commissioner said six miles of roads and five bridges are underwater.

A month of rain and a weekend of showers caused more flooding in rural areas near the Verdigris River and Highway 60.

Nowata County District 1 Commissioner, Curtis Barnes, said, “Then it went down actually quite a ways, then the rain we got yesterday and the day before it's brought it back up to where it's at now."

Barnes said some of his flooded roads are under five to ten feet of water.

"It's just going to get worse the way I'm seeing it," he said.

Gauges at Oologah Lake show it's about 17 feet above normal, causing the Verdigris River to back up into nearby creeks and streams.

Video shows the headache Cindy Fowler and her family is dealing with. They couldn't get out over the weekend because the only way in and out was washed out.

Barnes said, “We've got one way in and out for these ten families. That's the one I'm keeping; if I have to work on it 24-hours a day that's the one I work on."

He hopes he can get more funding to fix the roads and said he can't thank his crews enough for the help.

"Here the last few weeks we've been out every Saturday and Sunday, sometimes 24-hours a day trying to get these back up," said Barnes.

The county commissioner said it could take years for all the roads and bridges to get replaced.