Ed Murray, News 9
HARRAH, Oklahoma -- A viewer asked News 9 to find out why Oklahoma County is rebuilding a short, dead end road in Harrah at the expense of other, more highly-traveled roads. The viewer thought it may be a political favor, since only four people live on that road, including a Harrah City Councilman.
Commissioners draft a master road plan that prioritizes projects. However, factors such as acts of God or economic times can alter a published outline. Dead-end Autumn Lane, the road the viewer asked about, was on Harrah's wish list and the city council asked Commissioner Brian Maughan to fix it now. Maughan said it had nothing to do with political clout.
The five-year road plan for District 2 in Oklahoma County is put together through consultation with county engineers and road superintendents, then approved annually by the commissioners. By law, the county must build roads for cities under 5,000 in population.
"Harrah is going to exceed their 5,000 population cap in the certification of the new census that's coming out in the spring," said Commissioner Maughan. "So this is our last chance to come in and help Harrah so that it doesn't cost them."
Each county commissioner has a road superintendent. For Commissioner Maughan that's Kevin Hopkins. Hopkins said this smaller, half-mile project fit into the schedule with the winter shutdown on the horizon.
"We have a lot of these like this that need to be done that aren't really majorly traveled, but it was in bad shape and we thought we could probably squeeze one more in," Hopkins said.
Gerald Wright is the road superintendent for District 1 County Commissioner Ray Vaughn. Wright and his crew are working at the intersection of Council and Coffee Creek, a project that was moved up on the priority list because the patchwork was breaking down sending and pieces of roadway flying through the air.
"When they pop up, we start having tort claims, we have busted windshields, we have people filing 'I busted my rims going through there yesterday,'' said Wright. "We have all that."