Published April 26, 2017
JAY, OKLAHOMA– Cherokee Nation and Delaware County officials dedicated the new Whitewater Creek bridge in Delaware County on Monday.
After the bridge sustained severe flooding damage in 2015, the tribe committed to cover 80 percent of the cost of replacement, totaling more than $761,000. Delaware County funded the remaining 20 percent.
“The Whitewater Creek bridge is a very important part of Delaware County. The road being impassible made travel hard for the community and increased response times for emergency vehicles,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “It’s important that we as a tribe partner with local governments to help improve the lives of not only our Cherokee Nation citizens, but non-Cherokee alike.”
The funds were donated from the tribe’s Tribal Transportation Bridge Program, which allows the Cherokee Nation to partner with local, city and state officials on road and bridge projects that benefit communities within the Cherokee Nation’s 14-county jurisdiction.
The new Whitewater Creek bridge creates safer school bus routes and travel for residents and faster emergency response times.
“Working with Cherokee Nation through their roads program, we were able to complete the project in about 15 months, which was a big deal for our citizens. It was a great partnership with Cherokee Nation, and we are looking forward to more,” said Delaware County Commissioner Doug Smith.
Along with being brought up to current safety standards, new signage and guard railing were added, and the creek banks were lined with special lining called rip-rap to improve stabilization and prevent erosion during flooding.
“Being a former roads director, I am very familiar with the road and with the community people who live on the road. This is a main route, so it meant a lot to get the road opened back up for our Cherokee people and also the public,” said Tribal Councilor Harley Buzzard, from Jay.
Cherokee Nation improved more than 53 miles of roadway and five bridges at a cost of $23.6 million in fiscal year 2016.
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