JAY, Okla. — Damaged roads are an issue in much of Oklahoma.
Jody Young has lived on County Road 640 near jay in Delaware County for almost three years. The road has been damaged for nearly that long due to a flood in 2017. Sometimes trapping young and her neighbors in their homes.
“They’ve graded it down so low that it’s like this on the sides, shoots water down so it erodes out where there are drops several feet," Young said. "The water line is pulled up. Every time the water line comes up and it’s shooting water for days.”
Delaware County District 2 Commissioner Russell Martin says the road was built on an old creek bed and that it would cost millions to repair, money they don't have. When asked if he has applied for grants to fund it, he said he has not. Martin also says, even though the county has been taking care of the road for decades, they have never technically owned it.
“Anything outside the fences or hillside over there is property that we have to buy to be able to widen the road, to raise the road, to put ditches in the road, drainage and all that," Martin said. "And as a road department in Delaware County, I don’t have the funds to go and buy 1.8 miles of easement down both sides of a road.”
Young says more flooding caused trees to fall on the road two and a half months ago and nothing has been done to fix it.
“It wasn’t this bad after the big major flood," she said. "It makes it worse and worse every time and it’s just building. All this bedrock, now we had it through here, but all that bedrock never was there after that first one, but it’s funneling it more and more.”
Martin says the county’s priority after the flooding was to open the roads so people could get in and out at least one way. He also says he is taking care of 365 miles of road and was not aware of the tree blockage.
“We’re up to almost 80 inches of rain for the year," he said. "I mean, all we’ve pretty much got to do is chase our tail fixing washouts. We get them fixed they wash back out. It’s a never ending cycle.”
The Cherokee Nation also has jurisdiction over this area. Tribal officials say they don't have the money to fix the road either.
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