ODOT Blames Deteriorating Roads On Underfunding, Freeze Cycle


Monday, April 6th 2015, 6:20 pm
By: News On 6


If you think roads have gotten worse in the past few months, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation said you're right.

Engineers at Monday's transportation commission meeting blamed it on the freeze thaw cycles. They also said it's not going to get a lot better anytime soon.

Engineers said the snow, ice and freezing rain in February and March did a number on state roads, but said the problem of 40 years of underfunding can't be fixed in a short time.

All across Oklahoma drivers face more than just a few bumps in the road.

"I can't get over how bad the potholes are; they swallow your car. I've already had to have new tires put on, it's pretty bad," said driver Karen Schiaffino.

Driver Carrie Jennings said, "You're putting your life in danger to swerve out of the way or tear up your car and hit the pothole, so you don't really have much of a choice.”

It's something drivers just can't get past, and ODOT said fixing the problem is a problem.

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A typical driving surface can last about 10-12 years if it's routinely maintained, but in Oklahoma maintenance often isn't funded.

That, coupled with the estimated pavement life expiring, means the potholes are destined to keep on coming, according to ODOT Spokeswoman, Terri Angier.

"Our pavements are just deteriorated at rapid rate because of their age, because of the fact that really we had our decades of underfunding," she said.

The state has tried to fix the problem and said crews laid down 45 dump trucks full of patching material over 12 days after the last freeze.

That's the same amount used all across southeastern Oklahoma all of last year.

"We had a lot of freeze and thaw and in a one week period we had about three. And the extremes of temperatures and the extremes of cycles is the worst thing for pavement," Angier said.

She said getting the pavement fixed is important, but for now it falls behind bridges in priority.

ODOT said this spring and summer drivers can expect to see increased temporary maintenance on the roadways and ask drivers to be mindful of the workers as they try to make the highways safer.