CACHE--Comanche County Commissioners said Wednesday that ten roads remain closed in the county as a result of heavy rainfall and flooding earlier in the week.
"It's almost like a nightmare," said Western District Road Foreman Darvin Smith. "We've been out day and night. Sometimes we start at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning and put in 14 to 16 hour days."
Smith said his road crews maintain approximately 700 miles of county roads, but with the recent flooding that work has shifted to just about 100 miles of those roads. Those are the roads that have flooded and have washed out and need immediate repair.
"Each time we think we got something back up and running, 24 hours later, it's in the same shape it was in, maybe worse," Smith said.
To make those problems worse, Smith's crews can't even get to the gravel pits where their gravel is taken from because the pits and the roads to the pits are underwater. In addition, some of the roads are in such bad shape the large trucks and equipment needed to repair the roads can't even drive down them.
But it's a developing situation on the roads that nobody is supposed to drive down that's concerning Smith and Commissioner Susan Ulrich. People are stealing the signs warning drivers that roads are closed because of high water. Smith says, on average, they lose about 8-to-10 signs a day. Each sign costs between $40 and $100, but losing a sign on a flooded road could cost much more.
"It could cause a death," Smith said. "It's very major. At this time all I'll say is, I wish, when we get our signs up please leave them up and respect them."
Budget cuts have left many state agencies in crisis mode, including those who provide meals for many elderly people in Oklahoma county. The director of the non-profit Areawide Aging Agency says that before, they were able to absorb those cuts through furloughs, job cuts, fundraisers and even planting a garden with donated labor and materials. But now they say there's simply nothing left to cut except who gets food and who doesn't.
EPA chief and former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is speaking with residents in the state about the repeal of the 2015 Waters of the United States Rule. He visited with local farmers at a town hall meeting in Guymon, where he clarified the rule. More than 90 local farmers and ranchers attended.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol closed one lane in both directions temporarily on Highway 62 after a semi rolled over near Snyder. The highway is still closed at this time. 7News viewers David Navarro and Janell Rouse Holmes sent us these photos. OHP says this is happening between mile marker 65 and 66 about five miles east of Snyder. Right now, it's not clear why the truck rolled, if anybody was hurt or what the driver was hauling.
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The Lawton Police Department warns the public of a counterfeit bill scheme currently plaguing the community. LPD says businesses and citizens have recently received an influx of counterfeit currency. The bills are clearly marked “Motion Picture Use Only.” Check your bills to ensure their authenticity.