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Indian Road re-opening Monday, Aug. 7

Saturday, August 5, 2023 - After over a full year of being closed due to heavy flooding damage, Indian Road will re-open Monday, August 7 at 7 a.m., according to Sequoyah County District 2 County Commissioner Beau Burlison. The major road repair project is wrapping up just in time for back-to-school traffic.

During the overnight hours of May 5, 2022, the northwestern area of Sequoyah County received between 7-10 inches of rainfall in a very short period of time.

This tremendous amount of rainfall caused two areas of Indian Road to completely wash out. One in Sequoyah County (pictured above) and one in Cherokee County. Along with the two complete washouts there were two additional areas with substantial damage causing need for total reconstruction.

Although millions of dollars in damages were reported throughout eastern Oklahoma after this major flooding event, no Federal Disaster was declared thus no disaster recovery assistance funding was received. With no disaster funding it was each county's responsibility to secure their own reconstruction funds. It was estimated that the cost to re-open Indian Road would be between 3-4 million dollars. Sequoyah and Cherokee county immediately began looking for alternate funding sources.

Together the Board of Commissioners of Sequoyah and Cherokee County reached out to the Cherokee Nation Department of Transportation for assistance with this extensive project. With no hesitation, the Cherokee Nation DOT secured the funding and construction responsibilities for both complete washouts. With much of the burden being lifted, Sequoyah and Cherokee counties were still left without funding for the additional areas of substantial damage.

Commissioner Burlison reached out to District 5 Cherokee Nation Councilman E.O. “Junior” Smith for support with total reconstruction on the other areas that remained severely damaged at that time. Councilman Smith provided a large amount of the funding needed for this project with Sequoyah County District 2 responsible for the remaining costs. Cherokee County District 3 Commissioner Clif Hall also reached out to his District 3 Councilman Wes Nofire for assistance on their end.

"I understand that the last 460 days have been quite trying for local residents, commuters and businesses who were inconvenienced and negatively impacted by the temporary closing of Indian Road. I greatly appreciate your patience," Burlison said. "I personally would like to thank Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr, Deputy Chief Bryan Warner, Councilman Smith and the Cherokee Nation DOT for their Immediate response to the needs of these repairs. I would also like to thank Commissioner Hall, Councilman Nofire, Circuit Engineering District 2, Robinson Construction and Bronze Oak Construction Company for bringing these projects to completion."

KXMX Staff Writer

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