Okmulgee County road problems

Saturday, December 15th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Some residents in Okmulgee County say they're fed up with dodging potholes and driving in wheel deep mud. We brought you these same complaints last year, and yet residents say they're still waiting for someone to fix their roads.

News on Six reporter Shea Garrison drove the roads herself Friday for her report. Take a drive in the far eastern part of Okmulgee county and this is what you'll see. A regular car can't make it up and down these hills. This postal carrier can't even deliver mail to some residents. Okmulgee County resident Paul Sell, "They leave the mail at my neighbors and I go over there and pick it up. We've been putting up with this for over a year and it's getting worse. We’re being ignored out here and then when they do come out we don't feel that the work was done properly." How would you describe the streets? "Impassable unless you have a big truck or tractor."

Sell and Ron Wilson live along these roads and say they've never been this bad. They say they're not asking for a new blacktop street, they just want to be able to drive home without worrying about getting stuck. Resident Ron Wilson, "What we're running into is what work they're doing right now is, they're facing rain, and all they're doing is actually making it worse." Residents say this muddy muck was a passable gravel road a year and a half ago. Even last week they say it had more gravel than this. But at the end of last week they say maintenance worker came along, laid a layer of dirt here, then the rain hit, and this is the result.

Okmulgee County Commissioner Jim Henson says, "No maintenance worker should have put dirt on top of the gravel and I'm going to check into it." He went on to say, "There are lots of roads that need work and the 15 maintenance workers are doing what they can." He could not give us a time frame as to when they would repair these particular roads. Henson and the road foreman say gravel trucks are supposed to be working on the roads in this area, they wouldn't tell us where and we couldn't find them. Sell says, "We've had meetings out here. We've gone straight to Mr. Henson and they've worked elsewhere and pretty much ignored us."

Residents say the bottom line; they're tired of forking out money for tires and car repairs and tired of waiting for something to be done. Henson says they'll have to be patient. Sell and Wilson believe they have a long, bumpy road ahead of them.

Henson says the county received enough government money in June of this year to buy 1,000 tons of gravel. He says that's enough to cover the 300 miles of county roads in his district, but he won't say what areas will get help first.