Avery Drive closed to bicyclists and motorists while being rehabilitated

07/06/2011

Under Avery Drive, workers have found car bodies, trees, and a cook stove.  Dale Blevins said when he started work with the county in 1977, he talked to an older worker who said the county started paving with a proper bed underneath, but ran out of the dirt, shale, and other rock, so they started using whatever they could find.

About that time, a worker found a rock with a 12 to 14 inch fish fossil in the hillside, Blevins said.

Over the years, the county has lowered the elevation of some of the curves of Avery Drive.

Blevins, a member of the county construction crew, started out at District 2, but now serves the whole county.

Back in the late 1940s to early 1950s, the road served the rock crusher operation on the top of the hill, according to Ray Jordan, retired county engineer.

A conveyor belt carried the rock to the railroad.  Blevins showed the reporter the concrete support for the conveyor which was still there on Thursday.  The view was less impeded in 1977.  “You could see the river a lot better,” he said.

He said back then the water trickled out of the rock year round, and the trains jiggled the road year-round.  Avery Drive has been worked on in several projects over the years, and water seeping under the road was stopped.

Jordan said in the early 1970s, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation was interested in four-laning River Road as it was called then.  But, cost-estimates for the project were prohibitive.  So, ODOT four-laned West 41st Street.

Blevins said the project will take several weeks because now they are putting down oil and fabric.  The oil comes from near the Port of Catoosa.  After that, asphalt, much of which will come from the Port of Catoosa, but some will come from Sand Springs.

Blevins said they have had some who are glad the road is being paved and some complaints.  “We’re dealing with the public on a day-to-day basis.  We try to accommodate them the best we can,” Blevins said.  He said in the first week 1,000 bicyclist wanted to come through the barricades.

Some businesses told the county Avery Drive is the way they travel.

Blevins said the west end of Avery Drive belongs to Sand Springs, but the county is going to repave that section as well.

 

By Anna F. Brown of the Tulsa County News

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