Lawton_Potholes are the bane of every driver and their car's suspensions. They're all over the City of Lawton and Comanche County. After two weather disasters - first the ice storm, then the floods - the asphalt is losing its battle with the elements. If a car hits a pothole just right, it could damage the suspension, causing thousands of dollars of damage. But, it could also cause a wreck - possibly costing someone their life.
City crews working to keep the "pothole population" down, is a familiar sight in Lawton lately. City of Lawton Fill In Supervisor David Little cleans out the holes, and fills them with a cold lay asphalt. But, it seems to be a never ending process. "This particular truck runs five days a week, eight hours a day and that's all they do - go around temporarily patching holes," he says.
Comanche County District One Road Foreman Kenny Curry also has his crews working daily to repair roads in the county. He says the weather is the culprit behind the cracks all over the city and county. "Fifteen months ago we had a major ice storm, and that was devastating," says Curry. "That opened them up and cracked them. Then we were hit with the floods for the next six months after that - that has done us a lot of damage."
But, it's not just the weather slowing down the repair process. "Our fuel costs, just like everyone else, it's doubled in the past few years. And then the oils that we use to make our oil and chip roads, it's gone up 150% and our monies to work with in our budget haven't."
Gas isn't cheap. The City of Lawton has spent over half a million dollars since July on materials alone for street repairs. Lawton Streets Superintendent Tony Degiacomo says they're still behind schedule in getting them fixed, and the city is getting more and more calls every day. "If one's called in by the public or by one of our crew members, it goes to the top of the list and it's usually corrected that day," he says.
But, the city has a plan to help. They have divided the city into zones. Starting with the worst, crews will try to tackle this ever growing problem. "We will start in a zone, we will work that zone, and we won't leave that zone until it's completed. Then we'll move to another zone," says Degiacomo.
The City and County say they do all they can to make sure everyone stays safe. "We're working hard and diligently and doing the best that we can to get them back up into shape," Degiacomo says. The City will also begin its capital improvement plan, ripping out old streets, and laying new ones later this year.