Lawton_The City of Lawton's sewer rehab project has been in progress for 11 years, and if you've traveled in the western part of the city - near Wolf Creek or Woodland Hills Elementary School - you may have seen some of the work and dirt-moving happening. There has been progress, but it's come at a price. The mess is causing some big headaches for kids and their parents.
Before Spring Break, kids who had to walk to Woodland Hills Elementary could take a convenient bridge that would take them from their neighborhood directly onto school property. However, after the break, the pathway disappeared - now, it's no longer kid-friendly. "They have to walk around on 67th Street, cross the bridge there, and then take an immediate left, and they are pretty much on school grounds," said concerned parent Tim Cone.
It may sound like an easy enough alternative, but it has some parents still concerned. "All the kids would walk together, and I knew they were safe," said parent Maribell Doggett. "But the street they are walking down is very dangerous. It is too busy all days - all times of the day." And, parents are troubled about how they were notified of the change. "They notified us through the school newsletter that they send home with the kids," Doggett said.
As many parents may be aware, newsletters sent home from school with students often can get lost. Now, this new route is the one kids will have to take the remainder of the school year. "We've got to work all the way from 67th to 74th at the same time," said Assistant Director of Sewer Rehab Buddy Bridges. "Until those crews completely get out of here, we aren't going to open it back up."
When the old route re-opens, the old bridge will no longer be in place. "We thought we could set it out until we got all of our work done, and put it back in place, but the bridge was not that sound," said Bridges. However, there is a backup plan. "We will put sidewalk and concrete work back in there once we are done." Once construction is complete, the kids will have a safe path to school once again, and it's something parents say they will appreciate.
Bridges warns parents to make sure their kids stay away from the construction area as there is so much big equipment and upheaval that it's just too dangerous. He says all of the work should be complete this summer, and kids will be able to take the shortcut again in the fall.