Claremore Daily Progress

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July 6, 2012

Keetonville Road project creates rift

Thacker tells Helm to keep project out of District 3

CLAREMORE — Plans to realign Keetonville Road drew heated words between two   Rogers County commissioners this week, as District 3 Commissioner Kirt Thacker felt the current project encroached upon families in his district.

“Well, I’ll be plain about it. My constituents aren’t happy with this (project),” Thacker said. “They don’t think it’s a good idea and they don’t want it. As their spokesperson, I can’t stand behind it.”
Last December, Rogers County officials  identified funding for a proposed $5.97 million realignment of the flood-damaged Keetonville Road which has been closed since April 2008.
Circuit Engineering District No. 1,   composed of 11 northeastern Oklahoma counties, approved the funding, which is expected to become available in 2014, according to Helm.
Following the securing of funding, schematics for the realignment, known as the Keetonville Road Project, were drawn up and submitted to commissioners for approval. 
The proposed realignment starts south of SH 20, picking up existing Keetonville Road and creating a 1.2-mile stretch which bridges the Verdigris River and ties into Tacker Road, a stretch to which Thacker vocalized objections.
“Let me be clear, I’m not against the road itself. I’m against it coming into District 3, as my constituents have expressed to me that they don’t want it,” Thacker said. “Essentially, the (Verdigris) river is the dividing point and anything past the ‘half-way point’ is in District 3 and as such, becomes our responsibility. 
“This (project) will involve the taking of land from a family which has been in the area for 100 years, increase traffic on that road, and is quite simply, not a good option for our District,” he said. “People on my side of the river don’t want this and although I work for the county, I’m representing them in this matter.”
Thacker noted that since the Civil Engineering District (CED) approved funding for the project, additional monies had become available through FEMA and as such, requested other alternatives, specifically those which would less infringe upon District 3 to be considered.”

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