Skip to Site Navigation | Skip to Content

Oklahoma highway takes hit from weather

Oklahoma highway takes hit from weather

 

MATT DINGER - The Oklahoman


Published: October 19, 2009

Heavy truck traffic and a large amount of rainfall are responsible for the deterioration of a section of highway running through Bryan County, but the Oklahoma Department of Transportation says rapid response times and being proactive have helped keep drivers on track.

Calvin Carney, a Transportation Department engineer, said motorists who find a problem in the road should report it to the Transportation Department at 521-2557 or to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. Crews are constantly scanning roads for problem areas, but bad spots can pop up quickly. "If we see something we can prevent, of course, we’re going to,” Transportation Department spokeswoman Mills Gotcher said. "But if folks don’t report it, it doesn’t get fixed immediately.”


U.S. 69 runs from the Oklahoma-Texas border near Colbert in Bryan County and into Kansas near Picher in the northeastern part of the state. The highway sees plenty of traffic, but the portion in the southeast has recently given local road crews trouble, transportation officials said.

"In southeastern Oklahoma, rain and ice coupled with heavy truck traffic can take its toll. On U.S. 69 specifically, we’ve been faced with extreme rainfall this year, which has required an increase in our pavement replacements and pothole repairs to the tune of nearly $30,000 to $40,000, which is a little above average for a corridor,” said Calvin Carney, a Transportation Department engineer.

The 29-mile stretch through Bryan County has presented several problems in 2009. This year, there have been five damage claims made to the Transportation Department, said Mills Gotcher, agency spokeswoman. In the four years prior, only one damage claim had been made on any U.S. or state highways in the county, she said.

Most of these claims come from motorists who hit potholes or "blow-ups,” places where the asphalt or concrete has buckled and caused a rift in the surface, Gotcher said. Blow-ups are caused when heavy rains or ice seep into the road and weaken it.

"It’s an old road, and we’ve had some bad weather. Fluctuating temperatures coupled with high average daily traffic add to the problem,” she said.

U.S. 69 in Bryan County receives an average of 21,217 vehicles daily, 29 percent of which are tractor-trailers, Gotcher said. In comparison, the length of Interstate 40 from the Pottawatomie County line to the Arkansas state line — more than four times the length of the Bryan County stretch — has an average of 15,350 vehicles each day, Gotcher said. U.S. 69 from the Texas state line to Interstate 40 also sees close to 2,000 more vehicles than the major east-west artery in the state, she said.

Economic stimulus money has helped the Transportation Department stay ahead. The agency is using some of the $465 million it received this year to make repairs from Caddo to Durant, something it also did in 2006, Gotcher said. That work should be done by the end of the year. Additionally, crews are patching U.S. 69 from Durant to the Texas line with stimulus funds, she said.

"We’ve been fortunate with the stimulus package and wise with spending taxpayer dollars on repairing areas we know need it the most and were ready to do it quickly,” Carney said.

"Atoka, Pittsburg and Bryan counties in particular are being targeted with pavement replacements, which we think will improve the situation.”


Read more: http://newsok.com/highway-takes-hit-from-weather/article/3410243#ixzz0UQK5KcMa

No comments (Add your own)

Add a New Comment


code
 

Comment Guidelines: No HTML is allowed. Off-topic or inappropriate comments will be edited or deleted. Thanks.