Resident question bridge/road work

Road woes continue in Sequoyah County as one resident is questioning why a $3.2 million bridge project on State Highway 17 has a patch and why the road leading to the bridge has a hazardous curve and why the problems are not being corrected.

Craig Barnard, who lives in Marble City, said the problem began over a  year ago when Glover Construction, who has headquarters in Muskogee, built two bridges and also rerouted and paved a new road leading to the bridges which is posing problems for drivers who use that route.

“First, they built a bridge next to the old one and instead of installing a whole box culvert to sustain the bridge, they installed a half box culvert,” Barnard, who once worked for the State of California, said.

After the bridge was completed, it left a huge gap between the new bridge and the old one.

“Now my wife drives a small car and if her car had landed in the gap, you wouldn't have even been able to see it,” Barnard said.

Once the bridge was completed and some time later a storm came and washed out part of the surface causing a dip in the center part of the bridge. With the wear of tear of vehicles including the large diesel  and semi-tractor trailer trucks which cross the bridge, the dip grew wider, Barnard said.

In addition, the road leading to the bridges has a non-negotiable curve which should be rounded off a little more, Barnard said.

“You can be coming around the curve and will almost hit the beginning of the guard rail and I've seen cars driving in the center part of the road to avoid making that unusual curve.”

“I complained about it some time ago and  (Glover Construction) came and patched up the large gap on the bridge but now, part of the patch has begun crusting off and if you drive over it, the vehicle will bounce off the patch so that's more wear and tear on your vehicle,” Barnard said.

“I guess what really upsets me is the amount of money going to these projects from the state and the contractors are doing a substandard job,” Barnard said.

Steve Carter, district 2 county commissioner whose jurisdiction includes the area where the bridge and roadwork was done, said the project is not finished and should have been completed a year ago.

“The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) is the project manager for that particular project,” Carter said. “It's a contractural issue and until all the problems have been fixed, the contractors will not be paid.”

Carter said he was getting ready to talk with ODOT again about the bridge and road project.

He said monies to pay for the project come from CIRB (County Improvements for Roads and Bridges) which is one of the programs that are included in the cuts recently approved by Gov. Mary Fallen.

According to a report released by ODOT, Oklahoma's rural roads and bridges rank among the worst in the nation. If the state budget cuts into Transportation as it proposes, the state and county roads, bridges and highway projects will be reduced by nearly $4 million.

Carter said the bridge and road project on highway 17 will still be funded once all issues are corrected.

Greg Hornbuckle, vice president of Glover Construction, was unavailable for comment as of press time  Thursday. But Your TIMES will include any comments from Glover Construction when they become available.

Sequoyah County Times

111 N. Oak
Sallisaw OK 74955