by Gus Blackwell, Rep.-61

Speaker Pro-Tempore

Last week I received several phone calls from distraught landowners about a proposal from Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) to redo the curves on State Highway 136. The plan smoothed out the two curves right before the Texas state line. The problem was the plan put a highway between an existing house and its barn and riding arena. It also would destroy half of two irrigated quarters of farmland.

Thank you to the 200 plus people who signed a petition at the Texas County Fair to ask ODOT to reconsider its current plan to change State Highway 136. I spoke to Division VI Director, Robert Ward on Monday and he agreed to look at other options on this road. On Thursday, I spoke with ODOT Director, Gary Ridley, and he also agreed to scrap the present plan and look at other options.

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I appreciate the openness of ODOT to look at several options, before making a final decision. Director Ridley said there would be town meetings to discuss the options, before any final decision would be made.

I also discussed with Director Ridley, Congresswoman Fallin, and Congressman Boren the problem of weight limits for farm vehicles, as they move from state to state. They held a conference on this problem, at the State Capitol on Thursday, to discuss their bipartisan solution.

Presently, when a vehicle moves across a state line, the weight limit does not change to the new state’s weight limit, but reverts back to a federal standard of 10,000 pounds. Any vehicle over this amount must comply with a myriad of commercial vehicle regulations, including having a Class D Commercial Driving License.

A person in high school could drive a pickup pulling a stock trailer less than 50 miles to a stock show in another state and suddenly become subject to these restrictions. I encouraged the congressional delegation to continue to change the law in this area. .

There are several road projects still under construction in this district. This includes bridge construction on Highway 95 north of Texhoma and two bridges in Harper County on Highway 64 east of Buffalo. A mill and overlay of Highway 412 by Four Corners west toward Boise City will occur late in the fall. Highway 54 through Guymon will also have a 5 inch overlay and this project is underway now. The much needed overlay of Highway 412 into Guymon from Hardesty is due to start next year.

Please, slow down and be careful in the construction areas and keep all these projects safe and accident free. I appreciate the work the ODOT workers are doing in these areas and hope that everyone stays safe.

I am at the Capitol during part of the week for meetings and interim studies. You can reach me there at 405-557-7384 or contact me at my home in Goodwell or by email at gusblackwell@okhouse.gov .

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