Mount Scott Road could remain closed until summer
LAWTON, OK (RNN Texoma) - Refuge officials said Mount Scott Road will not re-open to cars until at least the beginning of next summer. It closed back in September after heavy rainfall exposed an eroded area on the roadway.
While repairing the first problem, refuge officials realized there more spots where the foundation of the roadway had washed away.
David Farmer, the Acting Wichita Mountains Refuge Manager, said there are more than 100 spots where the foundation or culverts need to be fixed.
He said around 60,000 people drive up Mount Scott every year, but that's not happening right now because of the structural foundation problems on the road.
"This was going to be the pinnacle of the trip," refuge visitor Beth Honan Fischer said.
The closed road is leaving it's leaving Honan Fischer, her out of state friends, and many other refuge visitors disappointed.
"They came all the way from North Carolina, and I'm so disappointed that I couldn't get them up Mount Scott today," she said.
Farmer said it’s closed for visitor’s safety and to keep the roadway that WPA’s built in the 1930′s from getting worse. He says some of the roadways, when you’re coming down the mountain, has nothing under the asphalt supporting the weight of the vehicles.
"There is the potential for road failure with the continued use," Farmer said.
If someone wants to go up Mount Scott they have two options. They can either walk or pedal up Mount Scott Road.
"Enjoy the opportunity to come up here and hike and bike without any vehicles in the area,” he said. “It's a new opportunity to have a full day with no motor vehicles."
Farmer said they're dealing with upset people on the daily. He wants them to know that they're working on getting it fixed as soon as they can, but they have to make sure they do it the best way and go through the state historic preservation office.
Farmer is hopeful they'll get the money necessary for the repairs.
"This is a major attraction for Oklahoma, and it's a high priority to complete this project," he said.
They weren't prepared to make the trek up the mountain. So, she had to describe what she wanted to show them and hope that it would be open the next time they visited.
"When you're down here, they don't look very high, but when you get up there you're like 'wow this is really up here.' It's a pretty neat view,” Honan Fischer said. “It's a gorgeous view. It's really neat even going up the mountain with all the boulders."
As for when construction is supposed to start, Farmer said there isn’t a set date, but he hopes it starts in the next three months.
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