Plans released for $4.4 million "Bridge to Nowhere" in Greer Cou

Plans released for $4.4 million "Bridge to Nowhere" in Greer County

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REED -

Plans are mapped out for a $4.4M bridge near Reed, in Greer County.

"We've picked a new alignment, and we've picked an optimum place to cross the river," said Monte Goucher, Executive Director of Circuit Engineering, District 7, which covers Greer County.

Related: Detailed plans for the project.

The location of the new bridge may be optimum for district engineers and Greer County Commissioners, but as construction begins at the Salt Fork of the Red River, many residents, like Rance Ellis, say the location is less than ideal.

"I feel it's a waste of money," said Ellis.

Ellis has lived in Greer County his whole life.

"I've got land on both sides of the river," said Ellis, "and I cross it, probably twice a day and I haven't had any problems."

He took FOX 25 crews on a tour of the area.  Look out the car window and you'll find the dirt roads empty, the landscape deserted, and the river, where the bridge will be built-- bone dry.  Even with construction, anyone can drive or walk across the area with little trouble.

"The only time you can't cross it is when there's a big rain," Ellis explained, "which we very seldom have."

Stakes may be in the ground-- but Ellis is just one of many who want to see the project, bite the dust.

"It's a ridiculous use of taxpayer dollars," said Rep. Mike Reynolds (R- Oklahoma City).

Rep. Reynolds is trying to put a stop to the project.

"I want the taxpayers to know that unless they hold their state legislatures accountable this will go on and on," he said.

As engineers show FOX 25 crews the plan-- they believe the quarter mile long, gravel bridge is a necessary investment for Greer County.

"It's been a safety issue," said Goucher, "the commissioners felt it was a safety issue"

Although the river appears dry, Goucher says it becomes dangerous when there is high water, this forces motorists to take a 25-mile detour to cross the river.

"We know it's a risk," said Goucher, "but the loss of one life isn't worth it."

Ellis says after 78-years, he's never had a problem crossing the river, and says no more than three cars cross the Salt Fork each day.

"We may not have volume of vehicles," said Goucher, "but the vehicles we do have, are heavy vehicles."

High volume traffic may not be the issue, but as Fox-25 crews followed Ellis through his hometown he led crews to a bridge that dead ends. 

"If there was a real need, I would be for it," said Ellis, "but I just think it's waste."

Ellis say the other bridge, situated on a rural county road, just a few miles north of the Salt Fork of the Red River, was another major investment by county commissioners that led residents to nowhere, which is why he questions what county officials are doing with millions of taxpayer dollars.

"There's nothing over there, nothing up here, it's a bridge to nowhere," said Ellis. 

All of the county commissioners involved with this project declined an interview, including the commissioner who first introduced the project in 2007.    

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