State lawmaker says years-long flooding at capitol complex needs to be fixed

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The tunnels connecting the buildings in the State Capitol’s North Complex are once again filling with water.

State Rep. Mark McBride says the problem has been going on for years, but this flooding is the worst it’s ever been.

“How have we let it go this far? With all this excessive rain, you know if you have a problem, it’s only going to get worse, and this just continually gets worse,” he said.

The tunnels are filled with green, slimy water that’s about two feet deep.

“Paint, where it’s dripped out, where water has come through the walls…mold, algae, it’s already turning green in there,” said McBride.

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Flooding at the State Capitol’s north complex.

The tunnels connect the Will Rogers building, the Sequoyah building and the Hodge and Conners buildings. State employees walk them daily.

“We’re standing here in emergency management, it’s in the tunnels. This is where people come to be safe in this complex during a tornado or whatever that goes on, so, it’s pretty important that we take care of the problems,” said McBride.

McBride says he’s taken the problems to the legislature before, even writing a bill with proposals to fix them.

“I didn’t get the impression it was going to go anywhere, so, I held back on it, didn’t try and push it through. I was told it probably wasn’t going to get any movement,” he said.

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He says now, a year later, with the same problems going on at the Jim Thorpe building and the ones in the tunnel only growing, enough is enough.

“I think we owe it to the people. These do belong to the people of the state of Oklahoma and it’s sad when we let these things go,” said McBride.

He recommends a bond to fix both the tunnels and the Jim Thorpe building. He believes the repairs could be done for less than $100 million.

“To let something fall into disarray, it’s just not right. Maintenance is much easier and cheaper than a huge, multimillion dollar overhaul project,” said McBride.

The process to pump the water out of the tunnels and dry everything out will take 24 to 48 hours, assuming more rainfall doesn’t make matters worse.

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