The Lawton, OK Roads That Need Fixing the Most in 2023
As we near the three-year mark of the latest voter-approved CIP funding measure, the majority of Lawton's roads remain in desperate need of repair.
It's important to note that it's not for a lack of trying. Over the last nearly three years, the city seems to have allocated as much manpower to fix our roads as just enough to say they're working on it. They only have so much budget for a certain period of time, no need to get in a hurry to spend it.
In the last few years since the 2020 CIP vote, it's worth mentioning that there has been progress in repairing our roads.
- East 45th Street between Gore and Lee/Hwy 7 is glorious.
- Sections of C and B Avenue in midtown were rebuilt as part of a sewer project.
- Technically Ferris between Fort Sill Blvd and 2nd is new, but it's a technicality since they just piled new asphalt atop the old road bed.
- Sections of Lee Boulevard have been redone. Lawton just celebrated the Phase 1 completion of this project back in October.
Results come slow.
I had the chance to talk to Mayor Stan Booker about roads and CIP progress in 2021. He's a super nice guy, and as I found out, he'll shoot pretty straight. When the conversation about projects and progress at the city became the topic, he was the first to admit that municipal results come slow.
Chalk it up to bureaucratic red tape and the process of local government... The whole "A camel is a horse designed by committee" thing. The crossing of T's and dotting of I's, studies, design, bidding, logistics, etc... are what get in the way of real progress.
Not for a lack of trying.
The city did start an interesting program not long ago to address the worst of Lawton's road problems. It's an online program where we can report potholes directly to the street department with the intention of expediting repairs.
It was supposed to work like this... You report a pothole, and the city will fix it within 72 hours.
In a perfect world, that's exactly how it would have worked... but this world is far from perfect and the department quickly fell far behind that 72-hour goal. While most chalk it up to Lawton being Lawton, the benefit of the doubt would suggest the program was too successful, inundating the department with more work than they were able to do.
It's still progress.
Life and work in City Hall will continue on as it always does. Everything will eventually get done in time to start over again. Like everything, roads are cyclical. I doubt there's a single town in America without a road to repair.
As it stands, the only roads left that need fixing in 2023 are highlighted below in red.
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