Residents Worry About Possible Road Closure

Friday, April 18th 2008, 12:45 pm
By: News On 6

Rogers County may be closing down a popular road because it's falling into the Verdigris River.  The News On 6's Dan Bewley reports Keetonville Road is used by thousands of drivers every day as a shortcut from Claremore to Tulsa.

Two weeks ago parts of it started sliding into the Verdigris.  Now, it looks like an earthquake hit and some wonder if it will ever re-open.

Buckled and broken, Keetonville Road is under attack by the Verdigris River.

"This hill up here will be the weakest resistance, so it keeps coming this way. As it does that, the road, the actual road, is rolling out to meet the river," said Rogers County Commissioner Mike Helm.

The News On 6 first chronicled a part of the road's journey into the river last Sunday. County Commissioner Mike Helm is waiting on a Corps of Engineers' study to determine the road's future.

"It'll be the Corps telling us, 'Can we actually put people on this road again safely?' And if we can't then we'll have to abandon this road," said Rogers County Commissioner Mike Helm.

"Well I think that's going to damage a lot of lives out here," said Sue Ingle who lives along the road.

Sue Ingle is one of thousands of residents who use Keetonville Road every day.

For many in Claremore and points north the road is a shortcut to get to Tulsa. They've already lost Highway 20, west of Keetonville Road, thanks to recent storms.  Ingle and friends say if Keetonville Road were to close permanently lives would be uprooted.

"Well, it doesn't set well because not only can we not go down this road, we cannot get up 20. So we are completely isolated out here," said Marsha Messick who lives along the road.

That isolation has Ingle and Messick worried for their safety.

"If someone was being robbed, if someone was being attacked, if someone needed an ambulance," said Sue Ingle.

Response time for emergency services, she says, could take too long. But, Mike Helm says at nearly $300,000 to replace the road; the decision may come down to money.

"County government has the least amount of money than any other government. We want to make sure we spend our dollars after good," said Rogers County Commissioner Mike Helm.

Both Sue Ingle and Marsha Messick say the road is too important for the county to give up and not look for money to have it replaced.

Messick says if that can't be done she wants to Corps of Engineers to buyout her property.

Related story:

4/13/2008  Road Collapse Has Residents Worried