This week I will release the 2012 House District 31 transportation update. This update provides House District 31 residents with the latest schedule of upcoming road improvements.
The improvement of the local transportation infrastructure is probably one of the greatest challenges facing the residents and the governing entities residing within House District 31.
North Oklahoma and south Logan counties are some of the fastest growing areas in all of Oklahoma. The 2010 census showed that just the growth in south Logan County alone caused Logan County to be the fourth fastest growing county in the state.
What makes this growth unique is the fact that much of it happens within the unincorporated areas of Oklahoma and Logan counties. The 2010 census showed that House District 31 possessed more unincorporated residents than any other House District in Oklahoma.
There is no city government to pave the roads where all this growth and greatly increased traffic is happening. The lack of city services to serve this large a population makes it unlike almost any other area in all of Oklahoma. This places tremendous strain on county government.
To make matters worse, the infrastructure has never caught up to the growth. Even some of the major section line roads residing within the direct path of growth are still either in a state of dangerous disrepair or completely unpaved. No road illustrates this state better than Charter Oak from I-35 to the east. Parts of this road are still unpaved and the traffic load stirs up the dust, which hangs over the road as a permanently placed cloud. You can only imagine the health problems and traffic hazards this cloud creates for area residents.
When I took office in 2007, I knew right away from the number of calls my office received that this was without doubt one of the biggest challenges facing the district. I realized that informing the residents of upcoming transportation projects should be one of my priorities and tried to accomplish this by publishing the transportation update.
Over the years, even as the growth continued, the number of transportation-related calls to my office has declined. The transportation reports have been full of good news. Slowly, the major section line roads have been transformed from something you might find in the Third World to well-paved thoroughfares. I'm happy to report that a section line road no longer turns to dirt the moment you hit the Logan County line.
This success is due to the hard work of local officials. They have aggressively pushed the many hundreds of pieces of paper with the state government and regional government entities in order to secure the millions of dollars it has taken to make this progress. I have always felt it was wrong that local government has had to navigate the bureaucratic maze in order to pave roads. This takes great persistence, skill and tolerance because dealing with the bureaucracy is a challenging endeavor.
This year’s report will highlight the continued transformation of the area’s infrastructure. In the past few weeks the Logan County Commissioners have secured new funding for miles of rural road upgrades. The funding will be applied in upcoming years. This includes the previously mentioned stretch of Charter Oak from Pine to Douglas, Simpson Road from Sooner to Coltrane and Douglas from Waterloo to Forrest Hills.
Simpson and Douglas, while currently paved, both serve growing neighborhoods, and the combination of construction traffic and increased traffic load has started to wear away the pavement.
The paving of Charter Oak should bolster the case for the badly needed I-35 exit ramp, which would relieve Waterloo Road and the Waterloo Road exit from the influx of vehicles that takes place during the drive to and from work.
This list of recently secured projects amounts to about $2 million, cumulatively. Successes like these are transforming the local road infrastructure.
These recent success are just a few of many, but there is much left to do. There are many miles of section line road that still need paving. This doesn’t even start to account for the roads inside of neighborhoods that also need assistance. But fortunately, the new strong census results should allow local officials to better qualify for even more funds and I expect to continue reporting positive outcomes in the near future.
The 2012 transportation report will list projects in both Logan and north Oklahoma Counties and should be placed online at hd31.org within the next few days.
REP. JASON MURPHEY, R-Guthrie, represents House District 31, which encompasses all of Logan County and a portion of northern Edmond. He may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook at facebook.com/JasonMurphey and Twitter.com/JWMurphey.