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Residents fuming over road closure

EL RENO, Okla. – Some El Reno residents are fuming over the decision to close a railroad crossing near Evans Street and Elm.

“It’s just not good governmental policy or leadership to do that in my opinion,” said Heidi Gambill. “My mom is 87 and lives about 2 miles from me if I can go this way but I can’t because now I have to go around and get on 66 and go about 6 miles to get to her if there is an emergency.”

Mary Culver’s husband is in hospice care, she’s also worried about an emergency as well as the extra cost

“I hope somebody can reimburse me for the gas that I’m going to use,” said Culver.

Another major problem can be seen on Highway 66.

Since Henry Henrick’s farm is permanently split due to the closure, instead of going 100 feet to the other side of his land, he has to get on the freeway nearly five miles out of the way several times a day.

“Traffic piles up behind me and I think it’s a hazard to the motoring public because they want to get where they’re going,” said Henrick.

The speed limit is 55 miles an hour but as we followed, we could only travel at about 15.

“Approaching traffic comes pretty fast if you’re trying to pass a piece of equipment that’s going 15 or 18 miles an hour and you pull out from behind it and have oncoming traffic going 60 miles an hour.”

He showed us a scary picture of another driver trying to pass him

Based on a safety report from Union Pacific, city council says the upgrades are necessary.

“We hate that they have to go through that inconvenience of that and there’s couple of families out there that have to do that but it saves a lot of lives,” said Mayor Matt White.

He said the report requires four intersections to be upgraded or closed based on fatal and other serious accidents.

There is talk of a path being created for farmer equipment to pass over, the mayor hopes that will happen soon.