Ottawa County official working to improve road conditions

OTTAWA COUNTY, Okla.- Road conditions in Ottawa County have been the cause of concern for residents throughout the area. 

One delivery driver, Terri Lynn Fraiser had to quit her side gig due to the conditions.

“My secondary job is to deliver food in this town, for a few different restaurants and deliver apps, and there’s nothing worse than the roads here. I had to stop doing those jobs. Because the roads on my car it’s not worth it,” Fraiser said.

But there are people in the county working to fix these conditions. Steven Chasteen, Ottawa County District 2 Commissioner is a local and said he ran for the position because he deals with the roads too.

“I ran for county commissioner last year the folks voted me in November was because of the roads…I come from the heavy civil road-building side of the world, and this is kind of what I’ve done for a living,” Chasteen said.

He said now he plans to strengthen roads, so their construction efforts don’t go to waste when severe weather comes.

“I feel to bring about the change and start putting in real construction techniques to build roads so they last longer than just the next rainfall.”

He works in District 2, which covers more rural areas of the county. But now that more people travel along these roads, maintaining them creates an issue.

“You know these roads have now taken on an increase of up to two to four hundred percent in some cases of what they were designed to do. But over time maintenance has been an issue to maintain the roads”

And budgetary constraints make problems worse. 

“Our fiscal year starts July 1st ends, June 30th, I took over January 1st, so I inherited an office, staff, equipment, a road maintenance program, and the roads itself of a budget of half of the year,” Chasteen said.

Despite the restrictions, he is still trying to create access to safe durable roads.