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Long-awaited Washita bridge dedicated

Long-awaited Washita bridge dedicated

This article first appeared in the Chickasaw Express Star
March 16, 2009 10:54 am

Staff Writer

Despite a cold, rainy day, Friday the 13th turned out to be a lucky day for Verden residents, with the official opening of the bridge over the Washita River.

Government officials, Delaware Nation members, local officials and residents came out to watch as Delaware Nation President Kerry Holton and Delaware Nation member Jack McLane cut the bright red ribbon to officially open the new bridge.

“It’s more than just a bridge of steel and concrete, it bridges the gap between government and community,” said Holton. “We have been bridge building for a long, long time. We are proud of this bridge because everyone came together. Thank everyone for pitching in and working together to do such a good job.”

Representative Phil Richardson also spoke to the group, saying he understood the frustration of the community.

“I commend Mike Lennier, the Tribe and ODOT for getting this thing to completion. We now have something to be proud of,” he said.
State Senator Ron Justice also commended the Delaware Nation, Grady County, ODOT and the landowners who have come together to accomplish the completion of the bridge.

“Rural Oklahoma depends on infrastructure so we must put an emphasis on our infrastructure, roads and bridges,” said Justice. “As a community, we accomplish things. By working through frustrations, working together as a community, a state and a nation, we have something to be proud of. Thank you for your part in making this possible.”

Lennier presented former Express-Star reporter Laura (McKay) Martin with a Certificate of Appreciation for the story she wrote that was instrumental in getting the new bridge built.

“It if wasn’t for Laura, we wouldn’t be here today,” said Lennier. “Her article started the ball rolling on this project.”

Individuals who were thanked for their involvement in seeing the new bridge to completion include, (in no particular order) Grady County Commissioner Mike Lennier, Laura Martin, Lynn Cobb, ODOT Division seven in Duncan, Reese Knight, ODOT engineer, Jay Adams, Director of Travel Coordination, Jeff Hacker, Anadarko Residency, Kenny Seward, ODOT materials, Chuck Donovan, ODOT materials, Verden resident Mike Cool, who documented the entire building process and presented CDs containing 1,200 photos to the county, ODOT and the Delaware Nation, Keith Rohlmeier, president of K & R Builders, Randy Yount, safety director for K & R Builders, Jack McLane of the Delaware Nation and former member of the Delaware Nation Executive Committee , Bud Keechi of the Delaware Nation Executive Committee, Kerry Holton, president of the Delaware Nation, Grady County Clerk Sharon Shoemake, State Senator Ron Justice and his wife Darlene, resident Margaret Davis, State representative Phil Richardson, Garrett King representing Congressman Frank Lucas, Keri Dennis representing Congressman Tom Cole, Craig Gibson of Caddo County, Orville Gibson, tribal administrator, Matt Morris, Dale Butler, Johnny Walkup, Clark Mitchell, Verden Mayor Andy Blevins, Verden Councilman Harold Milsap and Verden Superintendent of Schools David Davidson.

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