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Lawton brickwork repaired again

LAWTON, Okla._The headache continues for drivers and business owners near the intersection of 2nd Street and Gore Boulevard.

For the second time in two weeks, crews are making repairs. They say heavy rains and flooding have shifted bricks that line the intersection. On Sunday, Lawton city workers began removing them with hammers and crowbars.

Traffic cones are still blocking the north and southbound lanes from crossing the intersection and a number of bricks remain out of place Thursday evening. Business owners say the closure is causing customers to turn around or avoid the area all together.

Dan Mullins has owned the two lots on either side of the intersection for the past 20 years. In the last eight years, Mullins says drivers have become numb to the orange cones.

"It's an inconvenience to not just my business, but to every business downtown. When you constrict traffic flow, it is a problem," said Mullins.

Mullins says sales reports over the years indicate a drop in customers when repairs are being made.

"It is an ongoing problem and I guarantee you that an investigation into the real numbers would bare me out that it's economically restricting to downtown and indeed overall," said Mullins.

Larry Wolcott, Public Works director, says the city has repaired the intersection about a dozen times since 2007 when the bricks were laid as part of a beautification project.

"Depending on how big the repair is, it ties up two or three of our employees for several days, plus the equipment and materials that we have to use. So, we are continually spending a few thousand dollars each time we go out, so I look forward to getting a permanent repair put in place," explained Wolcott.

Wolcott says the repairs currently underway are only a temporary fix.

"The intersection of 2nd and ‘C' is stamped concrete made to look like brickwork, which is what they hope to change 2nd and Gore to,” said Wolcott

Currently there is a concrete base, but the bricks are only being held in place by sand. The proposal for a permanent fix to reconstruct the intersection is on the agenda for next week's City Council meeting.

About four months ago, the city restricted heavy truck traffic from using the intersection. That traffic is diverted down Ferris Avenue and Railroad Street or down to Gore Boulevard.

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