The price of safety

A future widening of State Highway 19 from Pickett to Gaar Corner will involve installing turn lanes such as this one in Garr Corner at locations where left turns might be dangerous.

State Highway 19 from Pickett to Gaar Corner is about to undergo a major renovation which will make the road safer for motorists. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation will make the highway safer, but at a large cost, and not just monetary.

Many people who drive the highway often know it needs to be improved. There are no shoulders. There are sharp curves, hills and dangerous intersections. Residents along the highway also know it needs a fix, but for many the fix comes with mixed emotions.


Business affected

Delton and Lahonda Sutton have owned and run Town and Country Grocery and Station alongside the highway for more than 42 years, but they will soon say good-bye. Good-bye to customers and good-bye to the business they have run since 1971, but they know the highway needs improving.

“Once they get it finished, it will be a big help to Highway 19,” Delton said. “In the 42 years we’ve been here, we’ve seen no telling how many people killed on this little old stretch of highway through here. People just drive too fast, mainly.”

The Suttons have seen a lot over the years.

“When I bought this and first started selling fuel here, it was 18.9 (cents per gallon of fuel),” Sutton said, “and you see where it’s at today.”

The Suttons have weathered many changes, but this one is going to close the business. Delton said the current plan for the widening would run through a major portion of the property where the business lies.

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