District 3: Road and Bridge Report
Don Hawthorne, County Commissioner

Because winter is upon us, and the past several winters have been fairly mild, we have not used much sand. However, several weeks ago we renewed our stock pile of sand and Road Foreman Kenny Kinder, mechanic Wayne Cassell, and the crew had the sand trucks loaded in the warm barn and ready to roll for the past weekend snow.

T&G Construction, Inc. was the low bidder on our Meers-Porter Hill Road project; they will be laying down a 2-inch asphalt overlay. Our road crew has spent the past several weeks repairing the bad spots which will make the road smoother after the overlay is put down. This project will start at Meers and end at S.H. 58. The Comanche Nation Transportation Department will reimburse the County for the cost.

We appreciate Director Adrian Tehauno and his staff for their cooperation in funding these important projects that will make for better roads for all the citizens of Comanche County.

Kenny and I also met with the Comanche Nation Transportation Director, Adrian Tehauno, and his staff, and the mayors and superintendents of Indiahoma/Indiahoma PS and Chattanooga/Chattanooga PS regarding the paving of roads and parking lots around the schools. These and other schools in the County, and adjacent counties, will be part of the Comanche Nation’s 3-5 year plan.

We had the final close out inspection of the bridge on Airport Road. There are a number of items, including putting up the fence, still to be done. This bridge was scheduled to be built in 2016, but there were delays in getting approval from BIA to acquire more right of way, change order, weather, and contractor delays. Had the bridge been completed on schedule in July, we had planned to resurface Airport Road from Cache Road to Lee Blvd.

Several months ago, we had the final close out on the bridge over Post Oak Creek on Bishop Road. However, the heavy rains last month revealed a drainage problem from the adjacent land causing the road to flood. We met with the bridge engineer and ODOT to address the problem and develop a solution. Because the bridge construction was under the projected cost, some of the additional cost will be covered from those funds.

The road crew recycled Woodlawn Road between 82nd and 67th Streets. This road was oiled and chipped because of the traffic to the golf course. Because it is no longer in business, the road will now remain gravel. The crew also recycled a half mile of Post Oak Road south of Tinney Road. This will be oiled and chipped next summer.

We graded the road going to the parking lot at the Field House and we hauled a load of sand to the Indiahoma FFA show barn. We also removed dirt from the Fairground’s Coliseum after the recent stock show.

This is my last report. I am thankful for the dedicated and skilled men and women who work at the District 3 County Barn and for their hard work. I have enjoyed my associations with the other elected officials and others who carry out their responsibilities at the courthouse. I appreciate the assistance and help of the Comanche Nation Department of Transportation, ODOT engineers, and the Circuit Engineer District 6 coordinators. I am truly blessed by the many friendships I have made over the last eight years. It has been a great experience! Thanks for the ride.

If you have questions or concerns, I can be contacted at don.hawthorne@comanchecounty.us or you may phone the county Barn at 580-429-3217 or the Courthouse office at 580-353-3717.

District 3: Road and Bridge Report
Don Hawthorne, County Commissioner

When the work is outside, weather is always a factor. Maybe that goes without saying, but it is the truth when it comes to county road work. This summer has been crazy, going from drought to hard and then soaking rains, putting mowing, grading, and construction behind.

T&G Construction was the low bidder and completed the 2” asphalt overlay of 8th Street in Cache from US 62 to Cache Road, and the 3” overlay of Indiahoma Road from US 62 to Show Place Avenue in Indiahoma. The County did the road preparation work and the Comanche Nation Department of Transportation (CNDOT) funded the overlay. Director Adrian Tehauno and his staff are great to work with, and fund projects that the County could not have afforded.

The CNDOT also funded the oil and chipping of Indiahoma Road from Coombs Road to Baseline Road. On this project the tribe paid for the materials and the County funded the road base work and putting down the materials.

We are currently working with the CNDOT to do a 2” asphalt overlay of four miles of Meers-Porter Hill Road from SH 58 to SH 115 at Meers. Several years ago they paid for the 2” overlay from Porter Hill to SH 58 which covered 7 miles. Once completed, this will put a new surface on the 11 miles from Meers to Porter Hill and is another project that could not have been funded without the good cooperation with Director Tehauno and his staff.

The County road crew recycled the roadway and worked the bar ditches on Woodlawn Road from Crater Road to 115. After we let the traffic on it over the summer, the crew oiled and chipped the road.

The bridge over Boulder Creek on Airport Road, that was started this spring and was scheduled to be completed by the first of July, has been completed. The “road closed” signs have been taken down and traffic is beginning to use the road; however, as of this writing, the striping and putting down grass sod has not been done.

The bridge over Post Oak Creek that replaced the low water crossing on Bishop Road has also been completed. The contractor has to come back and do some final work on drainage problems. The bridge is open to through traffic.

In Cache, the road crew recycled and oiled and chipped 3rd and 4th Streets between C and B Avenues, and Ash and Cherry Avenues between 6th and 5th Streets. The City paid for the materials and the County provided the equipment and labor.

Progress continues on replacing the old truss bridge over West Cache Creek, west of Cache. The basic design has been completed and the engineer had a company collect core samples to determine the depth of the pilings. We have met with the utility companies to find out which ones need to be relocated. A company has been hired to study the environmental impact of the bridge. The construction is scheduled for 2021.

The road crew did some road repair work in Wichita Mtn. Estates and Pecan Valley South. We rented a sweeper attachment for our skid steer to pick up the loose gravel in Pecan Valley South from previous oil and chip projects in that area.

Due to the number of accidents at the intersection at Deyo Mission Road and Lee Blvd, we put up stop signs with red flashing LED lights in hopes that drivers will heed the traffic sign.

We bought the materials for a 30’ x 100’ shed and some of the crew erected it. It will be used to put some of the equipment under so they will be protected when not in use.  

We removed the dirt from the Expo Building at the fair grounds that was used for National Horse play days and the dirt from the Coliseum from the Long Horn Breeder’s Association show. Lately, District 1 puts dirt in and District 3 removes it.

If you have questions or concerns, I can be contacted at don.hawthorne@comanchecounty.us or you may phone the County Barn at 580-429-3217, or the Courthouse office at 580-353-3717.

District 3: Road and Bridge Report
Don Hawthorne, County Commissioner

Summer is upon us and the mowing has started. We have used herbicides at most of the bridge approaches and the intersections to increase visibility. Also it will prevent us from having to mow them as often.

Construction has begun replacing the bridges across Boulder Creek on Airport Road and the low water crossing at Post Oak Creek on Bishop Road. The bridge on Airport is scheduled to be completed by the end of summer and we are hopeful before school starts this fall. The bridge on Bishop will be completed midsummer.

Progress is moving along on the replacement of the big truss bridge over West Cache Creek on Cache Road. We have had the plan-in-hand meeting with the design engineers, ODOT engineers and Circuit Engineering District # 6 engineer. The purpose of this meeting was to review the initial design to make sure all the requirements are considered. This will determine if more right of way is needed. Once the design is agreed upon the next steps will be to do the study to see if there is any environmental impact, acquire needed right of way and move the utilities.

The construction of the bridge is planned for 2021. However, the Comanche Nation’s Transportation Department has expressed an interest in helping fund the construction. If an agreement can be worked out, the construction could start sooner.

Several streets in Chattanooga were oiled and chipped. We had milled them a couple of years ago and the Town Council decided to complete the project this year. By inter-local agreement, the Town furnished the materials and the County uses our manpower and equipment.

The road crew has gotten four miles of Indiahoma Road from Coombs Rd to Baseline Rd ready to oil and chip this summer. They are getting Woodlawn Road from 115 to Crater Creek Road ready. The City of Cache has requested that we oil and chip Crater Creek Rd from Cache Rd north and also 3rd and 4th Streets between B and C Avenues.

Once the bridge construction is completed on Airport Rd, we plan to oil and chip it from Cache Road to Lee Blvd. If time permits, we plan to redo Baseline Road from SH 36 to Deyo Mission Road.

We are currently accepting bids to do asphalt overlays of 8th Street (115) in Cache between US 62 and H Street (Cache Rd) and Indiahoma Rd in Indiahoma from Show Place Avenue to US 62. These projects are being funded by the Comanche Nation’s Department of Transportation and will be completed this summer.

We hauled two old surplus trucks for the Meers VFD to the State Forestry Division at Goldsby, OK and put in a tinhorn for the Pecan Creek VFD driveway.

Our crew repaired the parking lot for the Comanche County Health Department and constructed a handicap ramp for the Wichita Mountains Area Senior Citizens building.

If you have questions or concerns, I can be contacted at don.hawthorne@comanchecounty.us or you may phone the County Barn at 580-429-3217 or the Courthouse office at 580-353-3717.

District 3: Road and Bridge Report
Don Hawthorne, County Commissioner

I am reminded of two quotes regarding Oklahoma weather. To paraphrase an Ace Reed cartoon: the drought in SW Oklahoma is interrupted by periods of flooding.  Will Rogers once said, “If you don’t like the weather in Oklahoma wait 5 minutes and it will change”.  It seems like the weather this year has been crazier than others.

In my 7 years as Commissioner, we have gotten the sand trucks out each year over the Christmas holidays.  This year it was on New Year’s Eve.  But enough about weather and on to roads and bridges!

We have completed our three asphalt overlay projects:  the 82nd Street Project from Combs Road to State Highway 36, the Multiple Road Project that included Briarcreek and a portion of Heatherstone in Pecan Valley South, Deyo Mission from the Railroad tracks south to Lee Blvd, several portions of County Road 115 and Cache Road from 115 to the West Cache Creek Bridge, the Cache Road Project from Paint Road to County Road 115 and Showplace Ave. in Indiahoma.

Because the 2” inch asphalt lift raised the road level and there were sections that needed work anyway, we had to work the bar ditches to build the shoulders to make the roads safer and eliminate steeper drop offs in a number of areas along the three projects.

This time of year we trim the trees back that overhang the roadway.  This increases the visibility and makes the rural roads safer to drive.  This also makes the trees look ugly, but doing it in the spring time, the trees will soon bud out and look better.

The truss bridge on old State Highway 36 east of Faxon was found to be structurally deficient for the weight limit during the last inspection.  Since this bridge was seldom used, rather than spend money on it we chose to close the bridge.

The heavy rains this past spring caused a large amount of debris to wash against the pilings on the Sandy Creek Bridge west of Indiahoma. The debris forced the strong current against the back wall causing a considerable amount of dirt to wash out that had to be replaced to preserve the integrity of the bridge. 

Kenny and I met with Adrian Tehauno and Theo Niedo with the Comanche Nation Transportation Department to review the roads that they wanted to provide material for out of their highway funds.  We have agreed on 11 miles of oil and chip roads and about 4 miles of asphalt overlay.  We are currently having the required engineering done by CEC Engineering Company.

This month we will take delivery on a new John Deere backhoe and a front end loader.  They will replace ones that are about 20 years old and are worn out.

After the overlay was placed on H Ave. in Cache three vehicles ran off the cross drain culvert at the 4-way stop at H and 115.  Coordinating with the Mayor of Cache, we put up four flexible reflective pipes to make the drop off more visible, particularly at night.  This has seemed to help since no one has run off since this was done.

In conjunction with our continuing safety training a CPR class was given to the Comanche County District 3 work force. 

Dennis Long retired from the District 3 work force having worked a total of 38 years.  Dennis’s primary responsibility was operating a motor grader.  However, when called upon he ran other equipment as needed to maintain roads in the western portion of Comanche County. We want to again thank him for his dedication and commitment to the County and wish him the best in his retirement.

On February 26, I announced that I was not going to seek a third term.  It was with mixed emotions that I made this decision.  My time as Commissioner has been a rewarding experience.  I have gained a deeper understanding of building and maintaining roads and bridges and a greater appreciation for county government.  My term will end December 31, 2018. 

If you have questions or concerns, I can be contacted at don.hawthorne@comanchecounty.us or you may phone the County Barn at 580-429-3217 or the Courthouse office at 580-353-3717. 

District 3:  Road and Bridge Report
Don Hawthorne, County Commissioner

The summer type rains continued into October which caused delays in our regularly scheduled projects. We have spent a lot of man hours repairing roads and clearing debris out of bridges and tinhorns, and that continued into December. Once the rains stopped though, it has become extremely dry and fire danger is very real.

The bridge on Airport Road, just south of Cache Road, has been approved and a bid has been awarded by ODOT. The construction will begin in February. The bad news is the bridge did not pass the last inspection and, in order not to close the road for 5 or 6 months, we will put in a temporary tinhorn so the road can remain open until construction starts on the new bridge. We did not want to have to spend District 3 funds for this extra step, but with all of the delays we have had on this project, we really had no other choice.

All the preliminary work for the bridge to replace the low-water crossing on Bishop Road over Post Oak Creek has been completed. The final engineer’s design for the bridge is being reviewed by ODOT and is scheduled for a January or February letting, which means construction could begin later this summer.

The Governor and Legislature, in trying to fund the State shortfall, has taken $130,000,000 out of the County Improvements for Roads and Bridges (CIRB) fund. The full impact of this action is not yet fully known, but this could possibly delay or remove from the County’s 5-year plan the needed replacement of bridges over West Cache Creek and Rock Creek on Cache Road west of the City of Cache and the bridge on Persimmon Creek on Airport Road south of Faxon.

Back in June, we signed an agreement with the low bidder, Overland Corporation, to mill out the high spots and to put down a 2-inch overlay on 82nd Street from Coombs Road to S.H. 36. This project was supposed to have been completed by the end of July. However, because of continuing delays by Overland, I contacted the Assistant District Attorney to void the contract.

Before we rebid the 82nd Street project, our road crew milled off some of the high spots and did extensive blade leveling to make the overlay smoother. At the December 4th board meeting, we awarded the rebid to T&G Construction Company.

At the same board meeting, we also awarded the Cache Road Project to T&G, which will call for a 2-inch asphalt overlay starting just east of Paint Road and running through the intersection at 8th Street (CR 115) in Cache and H Ave. This will connect with the asphalt overlay that goes in front of the County Barn. As a part of this bid, Showplace Ave. in Indiahoma will also receive a 2-inch asphalt overlay as well.

The Cache City Council voted to pay up to $40,000 toward the cost of the project between Crater Creek Road and CR 115 which is about half the cost for that mile. We are working with T&G to get this mile completed during the school’s Christmas break.  This will alleviate a traffic problem at the school and be less disruptive for the school and the contractors.  

T&G Construction has completed a 2-inch asphalt overlay of our Multiple Road Project. This includes Briarcreek and a portion of Heatherstone in Pecan Valley South, Deyo Mission from the Railroad tracks south to Lee Blvd, Cache Road from CR 115 to the West Cache Creek Bridge, Lee Blvd West of CR 115 to Quanah Road, CR 115 from Woodlawn to the Post Oak Creek Bridge, and Baseline portion of 115. The contractor still has to stripe them.

During the reporting period, we put dirt and gravel on the parking lot at the Indiahoma FFA barn and hauled a load of sand for the inside. We worked on the baseball diamond parking lot for Chattanooga School. We repaired the road and rebuilt the parking lot at the Field House for Cache Public Schools and put in a new road at the elementary school to help alleviate their traffic problem.

We removed some trees and did some road work at the Cache Cemetery and removed dirt from the Fairground coliseum after a stock show.

Richard Sellers retired from the District 3 work force having worked for 38 years. Richard had a number of jobs during his tenure with the County. His last responsibility was heading up the road building crew. We want to thank him for his commitment and dedication to the County and wish him the best in his retirement.

The County Barn will be closed for the Christmas and New Year Holidays, as employees take their scheduled leave. However, we will remain on call to respond to emergencies.

All of us at Comanche County District 3 want to say MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR to all!

If you have questions or concerns, I can be contacted at don.hawthorne@comanchecounty.us or you may phone the County Barn at 580-429-3217 or the Courthouse office at 580-353-3717.