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McAlester: Federal stimulus money begins to flow into area

McAlester: Federal stimulus money begins to flow into area

This article first appeared in the McAlester News Capitol.

By James Beaty
Senior Editor

March 31, 2009 10:59 am

The first shot of federal stimulus money is on its way to the Pittsburg County commissioners — with the money slated for projects in the Crowder and Quinton areas.

Pittsburg County commissioners unanimously approved resolutions on Monday which will open the way for the money to come to the county through the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

District 1 is expected to be the only one of the three Pittsburg County commission districts to benefit from the first round of the federal stimulus package.

“These had to be shovel-ready projects,” said District 1 Commissioner Gene Rogers, who is the commission’s current chairman.
Rogers said two of his projects fit that category, making them eligible for funding through the American Recovery and Investment Act.

One project is related to a road on a bridge over Lake Eufaula on Crowder Road, approximately two miles east of Crowder. The site has been the cause of a lot of concern and a number of meetings over the past few years.

Rogers said this phase of the project will be on road work and shoulder work on the county road leading to the bridge. The road work is to extend east for three quarters of a mile.

“That’s the most dangerous part,” Rogers said, referring to part of the road leading to the bridge where parts of the road shoulders are crumbling into Lake Eufaula.

The first phase, which is part of a larger $11 million project, is estimated to cost $3.8 million — with much of the funding coming from the federal stimulus package. The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is also contributing to the project.

Another District 1 project which will benefit from the federal stimulus money is for a bridge over an unnamed creek approximately two miles north and 3.7 miles west of Quinton. Rogers said the project is in the rural Russellville area.

That project is expected to cost $350,000, Rogers said.

Asked if they expected to get any federal stimulus money, District 2 Commissioner Kevin Smith and District 3 Commissioner Don Mathis said they don’t — at least for the first round of contracts which are being let through ODOT.

Smith and Mathis indicated it came down to a matter of timing.

Smith said he almost has a project shovel-ready for a bridge — but it’s not quite there yet. The project is for a bridge south of Alderson, he said, Mathis said the McAlester Lake spillway project had gotten under way before the federal stimulus money became available.
ODOT plans to let more contracts for projects funded through federal stimulus money later this year.

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