Delaware County drivers fed up with what some are calling a 'dangerous detour' in Grove

Posted at 9:31 PM, Jul 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-08 13:27:28-04

GROVE, Okla. - A viewer reached out our Problem Solvers about what she calls a “dangerous detour” near the City of Grove.  She says the dirt roads are nearly impassable at times, littered with rocks and holes.

It's all because of a detour created when a storm washed away a bridge on a well-traveled county road in late December. Drivers have been taking alternative routes, an approximately five mile detour, ever since it began.

For drivers in rural areas— these road conditions are just part of the daily commute. But for Anita Fields, the detour roads are unacceptable.

“It’s irresponsible ... you’re putting literally thousands of cars on these little tiny roads, and that’s just dangerous, that’s an accident waiting to happen," Fields said.

Delaware County District 1 Commissioner Doug Smith says he understands drivers are frustrated.

“There’s always safety concerns,  I mean people drive too fast,” he said.

Smith says initially county leaders thought the bridge would be a quick fix-- despite the damage from 9.5 inches of rain overnight.

“The piles which are the I-beams that go into the bedrock under this were severely compromised. The bridge was dangerous and the best option at that point was to put in a new bridge,” Smith said.

FEMA declared it a disaster. It’s now a $1 million project— eligible for federal funding— which speeds up the process had the county been forced to foot the bill.

But for those driving these detours—it's not fast enough.  Smith says they are waiting for the results of an environmental impact study to be completed. He's hopeful bids will go out for the project in September.

“If you look here I got a fire truck sitting right over here and they can’t get across, there’s school buses that can’t get across here- we’re getting it done as fast as we can and we’re committed to it,” Smith said.

Smith expects the bridge to be ready for drivers by November, just shy of one year since it washed away.



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