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Dangerous Lawton road to be repaired w/ stimulus monies

Dangerous Lawton road to be repaired w/ stimulus monies

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LAWTON - A Waurika Lake road is getting almost $900,000 in federal stimulus money. Almost $800,000 of that will be used to replace old and rotten wooden posts that connect guard rails next to the lake. Officials said there have been some repairs over the years but never a complete refurbishment of the posts. They said that makes this a very ambitious project.

Lake officials said there's probably at least 11,000 feet worth of work to be done, and they'll put in those new posts about five feet apart. The lake manager told 7NEWS the posts were built in the 70's and if a vehicle ran into them it could have disastrous results.

Lake Manager Louie Holmstead said hundreds of thousands of people visit the lake each year, and as the traffic increases, so does the possibility of wrecks. "If that embankment guardrail was to fail the vehicle could flip over and roll down the side of the embankment," said Holmstead.

Holmstead said many of the rails on the upstream side have already been replaced with steel posts. This stimulus money will help them replace all the wooden posts on the downstream side as well. "We wanted to replace everything with steel and have composite blackouts which will put the guard rails in compliance with ODOT specifications."

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has those specifications for a reason. As technology has improved, so has ODOT's expectations of safety. "Infastructure as it ages it becomes more susceptible to not function as it should," said Homestead.

After working for the lake for 15-years, Holmstead is happy to see the safety of his customers improving. "Our district commander has put public safety as a top priority."

Lake officials couldn't give a specific date of when the money will come in, because right now they're still working on getting all the paperwork done. But, they said once they get the money it will be just a matter of weeks before work is started.

Holmstead said the remaining 100-thousand dollars in federal stimulus money will go toward a study that will tell lake officials how much water the lake can handle during a flood.

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