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Geronimo Roads Under Construction

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GERONIMO Okla_ Road work on the outskirts of Geronimo has some residents seeing red.

Eastern District Commissioner Gail Turner said crews started ripping up the streets about three weeks ago. They'll have to wait until May to finish the job, which is standard procedure for these types of projects. Residents say the loose gravel, large amounts of dust and potentially hazardous driving conditions are more than they can bare. Turner said crews are doing everything they can to complete the project.

7News Reporter Nicole Osei found out that the county pays for road projects with a small percentage of the sale of gas per gallon. Commissioner Turner said when gas prices spike, consumption goes down, and that hurts the county's budget. The county is paying for these particular projects with FEMA money, which has extremely strict regulations on what projects get done and when. Residents say they don't care about the process, they just want results.

"I have a breathing problem, and I can't be outside very much," Geronimo resident Ila Stafford said. "When someone drives along the road, all of that dust comes in. When it rains, it's muddy. It's not got a lot of chat out there. The road is like a washboard out there. I am not happy with it at all."

Turner said these projects are necessary. They're working on roads that were damaged during a record ice storm in 2010. Turner said that FEMA gave them three-year time line to complete the roads.

"We're in a time crunch to get them done in the amount of time that FEMA is giving us to do it," Turner said. "We don't want to lose that money that can be used in Comanche County to upgrade the roads."

Turner said road work must be completed in a two part phase: they rip the roads up during the winter, lay gravel and finish the job during the summer months. Turner said there are several reasons that can make a road project a long and tedious process: from the amount of time it takes them to get the road oil and chipped after they recycle it, to more importantly, finances.

Some residents say they understand that and think the finished product is worth the wait.

"If they have a plan, then I understand," Geronimo resident Erica Waxler said "That's what they have to do."

"I realize there's some pain," Turner said. "I always say, ‘No pain, no gain.' During the process, there's going to be some dust."

Turner said crews will start the oil and chip process in May, and said it should be completed in June. They're working on several roads around Geronimo: including New Hope Road, 82nd Street and Burk Road.

Turner said there are several other cities in the county who received FEMA money to pay for the roads. He said Elgin, Fletcher and Sterling also received funding. He said he hopes to complete projects in those cities this year.

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