FITTSTOWN — A much-needed bridge replacement south of Ada has already cost county officials thousands of dollars in sign placement and detour upkeep, and there is no relief in the immediate future.

Detours , especially in rural areas, are never convient but always necessary when roadways are being repaired. Some detours are less driver-friendly than others and the one currently being used near SH 99 south of Ada is deteriorating quickly.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) is replacing a bridge just north of Fittstown on SH-99, one that local residents say was in desperate need of repair.

“It will be a lot better and safer, and I am glad they are fixing it,” said Robert Escamillo, who lives one mile north of Fittstown.

Escamillo is, however, concerned about the condition of the detour. “I don’t mind taking the detour, but it is quickly detoriating,” he said.

Winford Wood, Ponotoc County Commissioner, District 3, said he was a little unprepared for having a detour that would put such strain on his county roads. Now he’s doing what he can to make the situation better, but he’s not happy about it.

“It is an Oklahoma Department of Transportation project and had nothing to do with the county,” Wood said.

According to Wood, ODOT workers never put detour signs up because whoever places the detour signs then becomes responsible for upkeep of the detour. “They did not take accountability for the detours,” Wood said.

That forced Wood to spend more than $3,000 county dollars on the making and installing of detours signs off of the highway, and has left county workers scurrying to maintain the rugged detour.

Wood said traffic from SH-99, that was being used by approximately 2200 vehicles a day, had to be re-routed onto a county road that normally was traveled by 20 vehicles a day.

“We will have to re-do all those roads,” said Wood. “Right now we have been working on them almost everyday trying to fix some of the damage,” he said.

The bridge is scheduled to be completed August 1.

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