Controversy surrounds nearly completed SE 45th St. project

45th street construction

LAWTON, OK (TNN) - A multi-million-dollar construction project on Southeast 45th Street in Lawton is nearing completion but those who live in the area have mixed feelings about how the road upgrades have affected their property.

Everyone 7NEWS talked with was thrilled with the actual road itself, which is fully open. People are happy with the new five lane street, as well as the sidewalks and bike lanes but what they don’t love is what those upgrades have done to their homes.

Lawton resident David Toole said he does have a concern with the placement of a sign directly behind a tree, but other than that he is excited about how the project has turned out.

"I watch the cars coming down Lee from Duncan and it runs smoothly. I see them stop and maybe twelve cars in a matter of minutes, a minute actually, you’ll see the cars take off. Traffic is running really well,” Toole said.

In addition, Toole loves how everything turned out as far as his property goes.

"They went up fifteen feet into my driveway. I had all gravel and now I’ve got all concrete. It was given to me and I didn’t have to pay for it,” Toole said.

Toole also said he loves the new sidewalks and bike lane on the road and has seen them getting a lot of use. But not everyone in the area is happy with the project. Betsy Battee said her driveway was moved as part of the project, causing her to park her cars in a different spot. But that spot has a tree above it that Battee believes is ready to fall, and she does not have the money to take care of it herself.

"If you’re going to force me to have a driveway on that side, the least you can do is help with the tree removal. You bought that, you own that project, not me,” Battee said.

In addition, Battee is having flooding problems in her yard. She said she used to have a natural decline in her yard which no longer exists.

"The decline made it easy for the water to go off the property. Now with the stopping up of that, my yard is flooding, it’s like a permanent little lake over there. That could have been remedied with just taking some dirt and piling up that side of the yard,” Battee said.

One of Battee’s neighbors, who did not want to go on camera, also detailed her disappointment with the fence in her front yard not having a gate to the backyard, and with a tree that crews cut down simply being left in her backyard. In addition to the problems pointed out with individual properties, one resident also pointed out what he believes is a safety issue when you attempt to turn onto 45th street out of the neighborhoods.

"You can’t see in either direction for oncoming traffic. When you pull out, that’s when you have problems. Say you pull out and have a police officer say you didn’t stop. He didn’t see me stop and I couldn’t see him, so I have to stop, roll up to the intersection and then continue. But you can’t see the way they put the crosswalks in if you got traffic coming in either direction. Other than that, they did a great job on the road and the sidewalks. We didn’t have them, but we needed them,” said David Bloomer.

7NEWS reached out to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation about that problem and they are aware of the issue. They said they’re currently trying to determine the best solution for it.

As for the other issues, an ODOT official said they hate to hear that people aren’t satisfied with their contractor’s work. But, it is not too late for them to fix those problems as they’re still putting the finishing touches on everything. They asked anyone with any problems or concerns about their property to please call (580) 450 - 7586 and tell them about it so they can find a solution. They said they try to follow their plans the best they can but sometimes there are issues and they do their best to address them as they come up.

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