OKLAHOMA COUNTY (KFOR) – After watching the North Canadian River erode away at farmland and a road, and even cause the destruction of a home, Oklahoma County commissioners have finally received a grant to solve the problem.
The Department of Homeland Security and FEMA granted Oklahoma County $3,566,250 in federal funds to fix the problem. This is in addition to the $609,750 FEMA already provided for a study and project plan, and a county commitment of $1,188,750.
The plan is to construct four dikes to prevent further erosion of the western riverbank and re-align the river to its location in 2013. The money will also be used to rebuild 3,000 feet of Triple X Road to the west, away from the bank.
The river really started carving out a new bend in 2013, which is when it ripped out the ground from beneath a family’s home just north of Northeast 23rd Street and Triple X Road.
“We only had them out of the house a couple hours before it had partially begun to fall into the river,” said County Commissioner Brian Maughan.
Then, a crucial section of Triple X Road was closed for safety, but that in turn endangered the lives of those who live on the other side, including a retirement facility.
“The ambulances, fire trucks, all the services cannot get there, they have to go around to Luther Road,” said Scott Manwell, who owns a farm in the area.
To complicate the situation, the area was the intersection of unincorporated Oklahoma County, Harrah and Choctaw, but Harrah de-annexed its section. What’s more, the river is solely controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers, so commissioners couldn’t make a move on any repairs without the go-ahead from the federal government.
“This has been the most complicated problem I have faced, even more so than the county jail, for the whole time I have been in office,” Maughan said. “Because it just required having mercy at the federal government with regards to the Army Corps and you have to balance it with the needs they have all across the United States.”
Now, finally, good news for those who have been more than frustrated with the worsening situation.
“Now we can build a road and we can get back into business,” Manwell said. “I am happy.”
The county has until summer of 2022 to complete the work.
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