Property owners in a rut; their road is crumbling

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Property owners living on Lyman Road in south Oklahoma City say no one wants to take responsibility for road repairs.

The road is aging and in really bad shape. 

“It feels like you’re going over a wash board,” said Bruce Hankins.

Most folks who live out here are seniors.

Some of them are disabled.

They say no one wants to take fix the road, not Oklahoma County or City of Oklahoma City.

“As far as we know, it’s a city road,” Hankins said.

At our request, Shannon Cox and the Oklahoma City Public Works Department rifled through records dating back to 1920.

“It’s been a private road as far back as we can tell,” she said.

Cox says there is not a city road easement.

“There are utility easements to bring utilities through,” she said. “As far as we can ever find, it hasn’t ever been turned over to the city.”

Hankins doesn’t understand why he has to dedicate 25 feet off of his deed for the road, then.

Another property owner says he was living in the area the last time the road was resurfaced way back in the seventies and, back then, it was a family ties that cemented this road.

“One of the guys worked for the city, and one of ‘em worked for the county,” he said. They were brothers, [and] somehow got it done.”

Cox says there’s no record of the city every doing that work.

We asked the county to review its records.

Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan tells the In Your Corner team the County does not own the road.

But, here’s the rub.

The County did do the maintenance for years. 

“When the Attorney General opinion was rendered in 2008, it undid all of those agreements, because it trumps a local policy, because it’s a statewide law, and it said that, in any town over 5,000 population, the county could not own and maintain a street inside of that city or town,” Maughan said.

Now, some property owners are in a big rut.

They say the road wasn’t private when they moved here.

Now, they’re responsible for footing the bill for road repairs.

They could ask the city to maintain the road but only when it’s upgraded to city standards.

The city will not pay those expensive upgrades.

“I said, ‘Well, if we got to spend $375,000 to fix the road, what do I need the city for?’ If we’re going to fix it, we can maintain it ourselves,” Hankins said.

There’s a second option for repairs through the County, but it’s not cheap either and would require property owners to tax themselves.

Maughan said, “What most of these will probably eventually have to face is to get a bulldozer to come through and tear out the road and get it back to a dirt or gravel type, something that can be maintained more feasible.”

The fate of this road in gridlock, and there doesn’t appear to be an easy fix in sight. 

Not that it would have made a difference for the property owners living off Lyman Road but, when purchasing a home, it is your responsibility to find who owns area roads and who will maintain them.

Find out if your street is public or private here.