$1.15 Million Guardrail Project Halted Following Criticism
By Amy Lester, NEWS 9
HARDESTY, Oklahoma -- Plans for a million dollar guardrail have come to a halt. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is putting the brakes on a guardrail at Lake Optima in Texas County, after hearing criticism from city and state leaders who call the project a waste of money.
The guardrail is one of the projects funded by stimulus dollars. It would go up at Lake Optima, a lake that officials say barely exists at all. The Corps spokesperson tells us, they're now looking at alternatives.
Instead of replacing what they call a "deficient and damaged guardrail," they may close the road, put up warning signs or reduce the speed limit. The Corps is considering these options since they would cost a lot less than replacing the guardrail.
The estimated price tag for a new guardrail is $1.15 million.
United States Senator Tom Coburn has let the Corps know he disapproves of the guardrail project. In fact, he's trying to put a stop to it. He sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about it, explaining that the lake does not exist.
The letter says, in part, "This decision sends a strong message that active, functioning Corps commitments elsewhere in Oklahoma are of lesser priority...it is difficult to comprehend the decision by your agency with respect to Optima."
John Hart, Coburn's spokesperson goes even further, saying, "This is what happens when politicians in Washington believe they know more about local projects than officials in Oklahoma. Decisions about whether to spend money on guardrails should be made by Gary Ridley, not by Congress or bureaucrats at federal agencies."
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