A new plan is in the works to repair and re-open a section of Triple X Road near the North Canadian River. Continued erosion forced the county to close the road, but one commissioner now hopes to fix it.
The debate over the river and the road has taken so long because it lies in the middle of five jurisdictions, but Oklahoma County commissioner Brian Maughan hopes some federal money will help bring the other parties to the table.
A lack of traffic has not stopped the North Canadian River from driving its way towards Triple X Road. The water has already swallowed a house, shifting more than a mile in the past 20 years.
“This was all level land,” Maughan says, pointing to open air where the house used to be. “It all washed away.”
The road appears to be next, with just a foot between it and the riverbed in some places.
Maughan says, “You have to do something at this particular point or it’s going to be no longer an option for generations to come.”
Maughan says despite the blockades warning of danger, some continue to use the road. The county keeps replacing concrete blocks when people ram them. Others simply drive around them.
“There’s also a gas line that runs right through here,” Maughan points out, “so a number of people have tried to take off over there. The gas company has warned it was never built for that and it could explode.”
Maughan just applied for a $1.5 million grant to start a solution, although it would still require money from the surrounding communities of Jones and Choctaw, as well as the US Army Corps of Engineers.
The goal is to install dikes in the riverbed to slow the erosion and shift the road west, but it is all dependent on one farmer agreeing to sell 200 feet of his property.
“Obviously he’ll have to replace his income whenever he loses his land,” says Maughan. “He’s sensitive to that. On this side, there are homeowners that have the river encroaching on them and risk losing their house, so it’s a very complex situation.”
Maughan predicts the total price tag for this project could be around $4 million.