Taxpayers pay for median at 51st and Riverside that is replaced with monuments costing $1.7 million

TULSA - The construction at 51st and Riverside has some drivers upset.

"It's a waste of money," said Dena Sampson.

"Somebody needs to be accountable for it," said taxpayer Janet Burg.

It's not the traffic or the one-lane road that's the problem. It's the median.

Two years ago Oklahoma Department of Transportation put in the median under the 51st Street bridge along Riverside Drive to protect the bridge pillars. The cost of the median was $17,000.

That median is now being replaced with two, six-story art deco-style monuments on Riverside. Four monuments are also being built on Lewis.

We asked ODOT engineer Randle White why the median was ever put in, since there were plans to change the median just two years later.

"(When) we were looking at a concept, the concept hadn't been finished," said White.

When the Riverside project was being worked on, ODOT hadn't decided yet to put in the monuments so they were put in after the Riverside construction project was done. The median was put on temporary basis as a safety feature.

Taxpayers we talked to thought that was a waste.

"That's just stupid," said Burg.

"It's ridiculous," said Richard Webb.

White says there's another reason they waited.

ODOT wanted to put both the Riverside and the Lewis monuments in at the same time so the color wouldn't fade differently.

"The other thing is, you know you put the monuments in and then come back two years later and your colors may not match because the sun may have faded or whatever," said White.

Reporter: "What would you say to somebody who doesn't feel this is a good use of taxpayer money?"

White: "I would just ask them, what better use of taxpayer money than safety?"

The six monuments cost $1.7 million and were paid for by taxpayers.

We'll continue to track your tax dollars.

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