Weather delays Fort Sill Boulevard construction project

Weather delays Fort Sill Boulevard construction project

LAWTON, Okla._City officials say recent rains have set the widening project on Fort Sill Boulevard in Lawton back about a month.

The project was originally slated to take about six months. Crews are expanding the lanes from nine feet wide to eleven feet wide, in an attempt to make that section from Gore Boulevard to Ferris Avenue safer.

After three months, all they have done to the east side of the road is complete the milling, or removing, of the asphalt surface of the roadway to its concrete base. City officials say they hope they can move to the next step of the project by next week.

The next step is to remove the curb on the east side of Fort Sill Boulevard to widen the road, which is what the rains have been hindering.

"The water was above the curb and onto the grassy areas. And so, we do have to allow that to dry or we have to dry it," explained Lawton assistant director of engineering George Hennessee.

Hennessee says they're at the mercy of Mother Nature at this point, and they are forced to wait for a long stretch of dry days. Otherwise, rain will fill the construction site with standing water.

"That will create a hole, a trench, and rather than fill that trench with water and let it soak in and get wet and soggy they are holding off on that," said Hennessee.

Hennessee says they expect the project to resume next week, but there could be unforeseen issues when they finally remove the curb.

"There may be waterlines, there may be electric lines. Until we get the grass removed and the excavation completed, we really don't know what we are going to run into. We just have to deal with those as we come to them," said Hennessee.

Right now, the project is expected to cost the city about $1.6 million. Hennessee says they factored some weather delays into the original estimate, so he doesn't expect to rise.

Reconstructing sidewalks and driveways on the west side of the road isn't as extensive and that will allow them to continue to work regardless of the weather.