By Dan Bewley and Terry Hood, The News On 6
CHOUTEAU, OK - An estimated $465 million of stimulus money is expected to land in Oklahoma for road projects. Governor Brad Henry has created a panel to watch over money the state gets from the federal stimulus package. Former Tulsa Mayor Susan Savage is overseeing it. Most of the money is slated for state highways, but counties are also counting on getting a piece of the pie. So what will the money pay for?
In Mayes County, the money will be used to overhaul two bridges ahead of schedule.
"A beam that's rusted plum in two," said Mayes County Commissioner Darrell Yoder.
Mayes County Commissioner Darrell Yoder can barely believe his eyes.
"This bridge is terrible," said Mayes County Commissioner Darrell Yoder.
The Chouteau Creek Bridge was built in the 1930's.
"It could use a little bit of repair on the bottom side," said Carl Holt of Arkansas.
Its age is evident as the steel has rusted and is flaking away. On top, there are more troubles.
"This bridge is actually separated of the headwall right here," said Mayes County Commissioner Darrell Yoder.
A six inch gap separates the road from the where the bridge begins.
Three miles away is the Brushy Creek Bridge. It is a smaller bridge, but one that is also beginning to fall apart.
"So we got milk trucks crossing this bridge everyday and you can tell it's got a nine ton load limit and you got trucks crossing this that weigh 50,000 pounds," said Mayes County Commissioner Darrell Yoder.
Both bridges are set to be repaired using stimulus money.
"I think it'd be a great idea for this bridge," said Carl Holt of Arkansas.
The Chouteau Creek Bridge will cost $1.3 million to repair. The Brushy Creek Bridge will cost $460,000.
Commissioner Yoder says stimulus money will pay for 99% of the costs for both bridges. He says the stimulus money will do as advertised and put a jolt in the economy by giving dozens of workers a steady paycheck.
"Oh this is going to put a lot of people to work, I mean, engineers to construction workers," said Mayes County Commissioner Darrell Yoder.
Yoder adds the projects would have been done at some point anyway, but the stimulus money means the timeline is moved up and drivers have less to worry about.
"Without stimulus money this bridge would be closed down in the near future," said Mayes County Commissioner Darrell Yoder.
Commissioner Yoder says bids on the projects will be going out soon and construction should start by the end of summer.