Contractor cuts road prior to obtaining necessary permit, Commissioners upset: “we worked so hard to build nice roads out there”

A local construction company drew the ire of Board of County Commissioners Chair Newt Stephens on the morning of Monday, November 7th for requesting a permit for a project he had already started.

Schrum Excavating Company, Inc. requested a utility permit to lay a water line under South 176th West Avenue after he had already cut the road and laid the line.

Stephens told Board members: “I am absolutely against this. Asking for forgiveness after doing something doesn’t work for me, especially when something of this magnitude when we worked so hard to build nice roads out there. It’s a two-year-old road with a two-inch overlay, a really nice road and they just did it.”

The BOCC Chair said he contacted Guy Engineering for their professional opinion about “how to best get this road back to as close to original standards as can be. The current pipe in the illegal crossing in the south ditch is 7 inches from the bottom of the ditch line, it is supposed to be three feet. It is really hard rock and I definitely don’t want them pounding the rest of that road base to pieces to try to go down another two and a half feet…that will absolutely destroy more roadway and create problems down the road on what would have been a really nice road for years to come.”

Stephens said that the newly-laid pipe would have to be removed and a proper fill and overlay would be needed to restore the road “to its original value.”

“I am going to make a motion to deny this but upon completion of repair of the road, I wouldn’t have a problem with a permit to properly do it…I’m not against the water department, not against getting water to our people, I’m against the destruction of our roads to do it.”

The Chair then asked for public comments. Ralph Schrum of Schrum Excavating asked, “Were you notified prior to the bid or during the planning process of this job what was going to happen?” Stephens replied, “No, the first I knew of this project was when I got a phone call that my road was cut.” Schrum replied, “Okay, I understand.”

Since this was a Creek County Rural Water District No. 2 project, Sapulpa Times reached out to them to find out how this illegal action had occurred. Harvey Morris, President of CCRW District No. 2, said, “When we contract a project of that size, the engineer specifies in the contract that the contractor is supposed to get the permit as well as do whatever is required on the plans. He did not get a permit and did not do what was supposed to be done on the plans.”

At the conclusion of Stephens’s discussion of the damage and work needed to be done to the road, he announced that he would allow Schrum to repair the damage and properly lay the line under the supervision of Glen Musser, Creek County Project Manager.