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Transportation meeting focuses on county roads, bridges

Transportation meeting focuses on county roads, bridges

Transportation meeting focuses on county roads, bridges

Derrick Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN October 16, 2009 12:57 am

In Oklahoma, there’s about 85,000 miles of road, and about 75 percent of those are county roads.

This was something the County Transportation Partners discussed during its Circuit Engineering District meeting, which was held for the second consecutive year in Stephens County.

The meeting took place Thursday at the Stephens County Fair & Expo Center and Stephens County commissioners were joined by those from various other counties and other people who claim an invested interest in the program.

The primary discussion during the meeting was about bridges and roads with a special focus on those in counties.

This was the sixth meeting of eight the County Transportation Partners did around the state. Last year, the group did 14 meetings, including one for District 6, which includes Stephens and Jefferson counties.

Randy Robinson, Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma Circuit Engineering District director, led the meeting. In his discussion, Robinson said the State Legislature over sees roadways in the state and dictates who’s responsible for them.

He said the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is in charge of state highways, whereas the county commissioners are over county roads.

Robinson said many cities and towns are dependent on county roads, which make their upkeep imperative.

“There’s 437 communities dependent on county roads,” Robinson said.

In addition to the need for improved roads in some areas, Robinson said bridges is another big concern when it comes to roads.

He said there are 14,278 bridges in Oklahoma. There’s about an 80 percent deficiency when it comes to county roads.

At one point, Oklahoma was No. 1 when it came to the number of bridge deficiencies. Now, Oklahoma has improved to the No. 2 position.

In the past couple of years, Oklahoma has replaced about 50 bridges. Robinson said it’s a long process to replace bridges. It takes roughly 2 1/2 years just to get to the letting stage.

It is also a requirement for all bridges to be inspected to ensure their safety.

Funding for roads, bridges and inspections come from several different sources, including one cent of every 17 cents for the gasoline tax and Rural Economic Action Plan (REAP) grants.

Robinson said REAP grants are one of the primary ways county projects get funded.

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