Comment About Rough Roads

As some of you know I’ve been pretty critical of the roads in OK and a study by the DOT a while back stated that OK had the 3rd worst roads in the U.S.
After having to go and change a couple of prematurely worn out suspension components again I thought I would mention a road situation here that if nothing else can show how the government works.

I live on a side highway that is 12 miles long and arrow straight.
The 4 miles east is perfectly fine.
The first 3 miles going west is a washboard and absolutely horrible. Two hands on the wheel and forget playing a CD until you’re off of that 3 miles. The CD player delay can’t compensate for the jolting and we can’t even dodge the worst areas anymore. It’s all worst.
The last 5 miles going west after the rough 3 is also perfectly fine.

The road has been like this for about 10 years. Recently the highway dept. came in and stockpiled road surfacing materials on an empty lot right where the rough 3 miles begins. FINALLY, they’re going to do something about that 3 miles. Not so fast grasshopper.

The highway dept. went and resurfaced the smooth 4 miles going east and the smooth last 5 miles going west but did not touch the mangled up 3 miles in the middle. Not one inch did they do and a phone call reveals they are not going to surface that 3 miles either because they “feel the road does not need surfacing”.
One would think that one highway worker involved in all of this would have raised their hand and suggested doing something about this debacle but apparently not.

I suppose an analogy would be lopping off 3 healthy limbs and leaving the one with Gangrene in place… :frowning:

That’s government. The DOT here recently repaved about 10 miles on two different roads. After that, the stimulus package paid for an “overlay” of really cheap pavement right on top of the new stuff. It was intended to protect the new pavement, but it ended up smoothing out in about a month. They had to grind up and repave again a short stretch near an intersection. Due to the drought here south of the Red River I haven’t seen any problems, but I’m pretty sure that smooth pavement would be very slick when wet. I was lucky enough not to have to go that way during our recent rainfall. This is like implanting a new organ, then covering it with hot tar and gravel.

I was surprised to note our lovely state of Maine was not mentioned near the bottom as having poor roads. I suppose because there aren’t enough of them. The road we live on is a one time skidder trail chosen as the best way to pull logs. Not much has changed for the better as even at times, skidders go elsewhere for the better. It’s a private road so there is no help from the govt. We supply our own stimulus. There were times in the spring that the most need road repair item was a chain saw. I remember having to cut trees to drive through the woods around the worse of it. Even my jacked up PU with 37 inch tires need an alternate route. The Subaru stayed in the garage for weeks on end…it was useless.

NH highways are decent…so I really can’t complain about them…But were a very small state…maybe 1/10th the size of OK.

However our town roads are NOT in good shape…We’ve had flooding 3 of the last 5 years…and most of our money has been used to repair bridges (10 in all had to be repaired or completely replaced).

We had one town road that they repaired HALF of 2 years ago…And finally did the other half this year…The reason they waited was because the second half they had to do a lot more work…new drains and get rid of a crown.

We had to put off a school expansion because of all the bridge repairs we HAD to do in the past 5 years…Small town budgets struggle when they get hit with a disaster.

Minnesota really does a pretty good job with all the money that has to go to snow removal and repair after winter. However, everyone has been strapped for cash over the past 10-15 years and the strain is showing. There are roads maintained by t he state, by county, by townships, and by cities. Sometimes the state will reimburse for the city or county doing the maintenance, but in our case, the payments haven’t kept up with the costs and the locals are bailing out.

In OK’s place, I’d be interested in knowing if there has been some disagreement before over that particular stretch of road and who maintains it. Or even something as stupid as property owner complaints or something. There must be some interesting history there. Highway engineers are usually pretty anal and calculating about what gets fixed according to formula and aren’t too flexible.

That kind of thing happens here too but it’s usually the result of the section being between two municipalities and neither wants to accept responsibility.

'round these parts we have a spider web of invisible property lines that could result exactly that same head scratching.
Navajo reservation
Zuni reservation

I wonder if yours is something similar ?

"I’m From The Government And I’m Here To Help."
Your Description Sounds Normal To Me. I’ve Got Examples Of This Near Me.

A couple of years ago our county was to repave a section of highway that runs about seven miles. I was all excited when they started working on it. When there wasn’t quite enough funding for the whole seven miles they repaved the part needing the least help and skipped the section that was in very bad shape.

They patched up the 2 miles of broken up road and did a poor job of it and in fact made it more dangerous. They put in narrow strips of asphalt running down the road that trap and pool water, even on a dangerous curve. The water gets deep enough to suddenly steer unsuspecting drivers’ cars and freezes in the winter months.

People who complain about roads here are told that there is no money to fix them and if enough complaining is done on certain rough pavement, the roads will be turned back into gravel roads so that they can be smoothed out. The problem is that the folks on gravel roads never get their roads graded or any gravel replaced. Many county gravel roads are nearly impassible.


OK4450, you are talking to the wrong part of the government. Contact an elected official; any elected official. They live to beat on bureaucrats. Really. I used to car pool with one and he said that it was the best free campaign work ever. The best part of the day was when a constituent called with a problem concerning government inaction. Contact a local state representative and invite him to meet you at the bad road section. Tell him the story, and if you have a letter or email fro the highway folks, give him a copy. If he doesn’t wail the living daylights out of them (figuratively, of course), then he doesn’t want to get reelected. He will be a hero to all that use that road, and he knows it.

It must be a coincidence that routes elected officials use seem to be on the top of the current improvement list. Just to get on the recall walker bandwagon for a second, wi was too broke to allow unions to have collective bargaining for anything more than a cost of living increase in wages, but gave tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations. Walkers plan is to repave a stretch of highway that is fine now, and in 4 years tear it all up and rebuild it. Money wasted!

Another possibility is that the stretch of road is so bad that it has to be rebuilt. They wouldn’t want to waste money with an overlay if the base has to be dug up or regraded or the pavement entirely replaced. Just might be beyond repair so no point in painting a rotten board.

I have no idea of the reasoning behind the road repair, or lack of, but feel it’s probably due to stupidity. It wouldn’t be the first time. They routinely resurface other roads that are worse than the stretch I’m referring to so I don’t think actually rebuilding it entirely is a factor.

Some years back they tore up 5 miles of highway going to the school and left it as a chewed up graveled mess. It remained like this for over 5 years without being touched again and the sad part is that the road was pretty decent before they tore it up. The school bus had to creep over this stretch several times a day.

On a stretch of highway about 20 miles from me (and one that I do drive on occasion) they did the same thing there. They ripped up 7 miles of roadway and left it as a chewed up, graveled mess for over 10 years before ever touching it again. In 10 years the only thing that was done after ripping it up was adding a few “Maximum speed 35 MPH” signs to it. They highway guys just resurfaced that one a couple of years ago.

Getting a straight answer out of the powers that be is about as easy as removing an impacted wisdom tooth. :slight_smile:

Well you see… it’s called buying off inspectors and applying inferior material. Or it may be that the dollars spent were used for said miles of pavement… poor… another section of federal money (higher DOT standards). Insanity and Dangerous.

Here in NC plenty of roadway improvements have been torn up to repave. Many roads are EXCELLENT!! BAD ROAD SECTIONS still exist, too, over budget and at taxpayer expense. Having the paving company just declaring bank out or other fiscal reasons… nobody goes to court or convicted of anything… fines are ridiculously low with pork networks. Plain as day that federal highway funds are being skimmed off and the delayed work HWY sections is-are no excuse for not spending the monies without completion. (where’s the money?? )

“I have no idea of the reasoning behind the road repair, or lack of, but feel it’s probably due to stupidity.” (ok4450) Not so much stupidity but worse, . . . politics.

I know this doesn’t apply to anyone here, but everyone seems to be an expert on road repair and how, when and what should be done. I became an “expert” only after I assumed full responsibility for my own mile and a half road. Spend some time going to town budget meetings. It 's a mind opener. What seemed “dumb” before seems perfectly logical after being informed.

I spent some time as a city councilman and have seen firsthand how “stupid” is defined.
That was the worst period in my entire life and it got to the point where I was unable to sleep because I was so ticked off. Everything involved someone trying to get something out of their position, help a buddy out, or shelling out funds for things they never questioned or even knew what it was for. Finally I had to bow out; the lone voice in the wilderness was getting nowhere.

A few years back the state of OK brought up raising gasoline taxes during an election year. During this campaign a lady from TX just happened to be passing through OK on I-35 and a chunk of concrete fell off and hit her windshield; killing her instantly. The officials jumped on this PR aid as to why taxes needed to be raised and even prostituted the lady’s family members into doing commercials pushing the tax.

The tax failed 87 to 13%. It came out during this campaign the the bridge in which the piece of concrete fell had just been recently inspected and proclaimed to pass. There was much buck passing over this.
It also came out that of the mandated highway money that is supposed to be spent on the roads (through car license fees, etc, et) that only about 40% of that money was actually being spent on the roads. The other 60% of the mandated money was being transferred (and still is) into the General Fund to be blown by every representative and senator on countless projects.

I just heard a rumbling this evening that a few people may have gotten some of those road repair materials diverted for their own use courtesy of a few officials. No idea what that’s about just yet but it’s the norm.

OK…You have to admit, it was a mind opener. My tenure in local govt. had it’s own short sighted “nit wits” too. Like you, I did come away knowing why things were done the way they were, even when done poorly. But my town was a little different, and those problems were more the exception.

OK, I sympathize with you, And imagine how things change once you progress from the local to the state level. If only we had real people with logical minds elected to political office, you exemplify the heart of the problem. I hope you have gotten your sleep, but probably not thinking if only I were there now.

Sheer frustration was eating me alive. It seems that I spent most of my time trying to keep unethical or illegal things from being done. Every week I would discover that someone was doing something wrong, or attempting to do it, and I’d fight tooth and nail to keep it from happening.

This even led one evening to the mayor’s wife jumping me in front of the town hall when the mayor was counting on me helping pull another illegal stunt. I refused to go along with the program and she was screaming in my face. I let her rant for a few minutes and then told her it’s a good thing she wasn’t a man because if she was I’d have already knocked her through the plate glass window and then told her if she started screaming in my face again it was probably going to happen anyway, man or woman. The mayor, sitting about 6 feet away, pretended he never heard any of this. :slight_smile:

Even the fire chief and several firemen were looting the fire department account so to speak. The chief to the tune of about 8 grand a year and the others were helping themselves to pricy flashlights, diesel fuel, and using fire truck tankers on their farms to haul water for livestock. Several of the firemen were on the Board of Directors of the water district so they installed a fire hydrant out in the county in the middle of nowhere. They were driving the tankers out there (fuel paid for by the city) and helping themselves to free water out of that hydrant.

I could write a book on the garbage I saw and fought over. One night I’m sitting there at 5 in the morning after having been awake all night stewing and my wife finally talked me into resigning. It was that or a stroke because the blood pressure was off the chart.

(Just for chuckles, consider the following. When I became a councilman the town was almost through a sewer project. I started digging into this and found the town along with all taxpayers (Fed and state grants) were being gouged in 400% cost overruns. It’s not hard to see why. The engineers got a 6% engineering fee and a 6% inspection fee so what better way to quadruple your money than to issue constant change orders.
At the time the town had a reserve fund for this project that everyone was told was earning money while it sat in the bank. True enough, it was. The problem was that the town was earning something like 2% and in my digging into the paperwork I found out the town had borrowed* the money at 8.5%.
What’s sad, and disgusting, is that these other officials sincerely and honestly thought the town was earning money this way.)

*I’d note that it’s not only illegal for a public body in OK to borrow money but it’s also against the state constitution. The entity must have an election or issue bonds. The town did neither. We’re still paying through the nose for this boondoggle. I’d also add that this “trouble free sewage lagoon” was breaking down repeatedly within the first 2 years of operation (broken permanently within 5 years) and at times raw sewage is being discharged into the Arkansas river, courtesy of the watershed creek here. This is exactly what the sewage project was supposed to correct.

I’ll humbly quit ranting now. :slight_smile: