Protocol, Not Money, Stalling Tulsa Road Improvements

Monday, June 8th 2015, 11:32 pm
By: News On 6

Voters approved a $28-million road capital improvement package nearly three years ago, but Tulsa city leaders say money isn't the reason for the delay, road improvements just take time.

Under the Fix Our Streets package, there are only a few areas left to go, and once those projects wrap up the Improve Our Tulsa Streets and Bridges package will begin.

When there are potholes spread throughout your neighborhood, William Eason says you get pretty good at getting around them.

"I've definitely improved my ability to dodge potholes," he said.

For about three years, the Longview Lakes Estates homeowner's association says it's been waiting for improvements. Finally, the city announced the start date at a public meeting.

"I'm definitely very happy about that,” Eason said.

The improvements to the neighborhood fall under the Fix Our Roads package. The initial idea was to spread those improvements over a five-year period, but with so many areas to work, the neighborhood is one of the few left.

Once those projects are done, the Improve Our Tulsa Streets and Bridge package picks up to improve a wider range or roadways, said the city of Tulsa Planning Coordinator, Matt Liechti.

"Worst first is not always the best solution," he said. "If a street is to the point of needing to be reconstructed it's gonna need to be reconstructed three or four years from now, still. Whereas if a street is on the verge of reconstruction we can do a patch and overlay and save a lot of that street, that street would actually go before the streets that need to be reconstructed."

He says when huge street improvement packages are approved citizens often think the work begins immediately, but that's not the case, there's a protocol.

First the project is funded, then it's designed, then it's completed - a process that can often take two to three years.

Eason says he's just happy to soon be able to ride smoothly.

"It's been a long time coming," he said.

If you'd like to know more about upcoming projects, the city has a full map outlining upcoming roadwork through 2019.