The start of summer for the city of Mannford is facing an unexpected roadblock.
The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company is working on a major railroad crossing repair.
"It was sprung on us,” Mannford Mayor Tyler Buttram said. “I pretty much found out when the rest of the public found out whenever the sign got delivered.”
The crossing on Basin Road will be completely closed down from May 18th through the 22nd. Buttram said he never received any notification that the project was taking place, let alone a solution from the railroad company to advise affected residents.
"I was in just as much of a panic as the rest of the community was whenever they put a sign up that says in five days, the road will be closed,” Buttram said. “You’re looking at putting and shutting down over 2,500 people off to the rest of the world.”
BNSF railroad representatives told Buttram the crossing will only be closed two out of the five days for four to six hours. However, BNSF has not specified which days or times.
Jeff Larson owns a business next to the crossing and said he's worried his driveway will be become a detour.
"Traffic has to be diverted in town and that’s going to create problems,” Larson said. “Otherwise, I will have a parking lot full of travelers trying to turn around and with large campers and boats. I don't see that as a viable solution.”
Buttram said the timing is horrible for the city because the project falls on the week of Memorial Day, one of the city’s biggest holidays. He expects traffic will be three times heavier with people trying to get to the lake.
Larson also agrees this will affect the holiday at a time the town needs tourism.
"People come to the lake early,” Larson said. “You know this town suffered last year with high water and I would like to see them get a good summer this year.”
Buttram said the city, as well as commissioners and state representatives, are trying to schedule a meeting with BNSF representatives this week.
We reached out to BNSF for comment and have not heard back.