OKLAHOMA CITY — Gov. Kevin Stitt and three mayors have joined members of the state’s congressional delegation in asking the federal government to fast-track a study of the Arkansas River levee system.
Stitt was joined by Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, Bixby Mayor Brian Guthrie and Jenks Mayor Robert Lee in writing a July 5 letter asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete the study by this December rather than September 2020.
“This will allow for much needed upgrades to be addressed before the close of the 116th Congress,” the letter says. “Any deadline past December runs the risk of delaying the rebuilding and recovery process several years for this vital infrastructure.”
The letter notes the recent historic flooding in eastern Oklahoma.
“This area was fortunate that the Tulsa-West Tulsa Levee System held back water for weeks, compared to the last major flooding event in 1986 that lasted less than a day,” the letter says. “If these 75-year-old levees had been breached, the damage would have been catastrophic to the communities of hard-working Oklahomans protected by the levee system.”
The letter notes that in 2008 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rated the Tulsa-West Tulsa levees as unacceptable.
“Based on your own assessment, it is clear you, too, recognize the urgency for modernization and upgrades,” the letter says.
In June, U.S. Sens. James Lankford and Jim Inhofe and U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern sent a letter to the Corps, also requesting that the study be put on the fast track.
WPX Energy's 260,000-square-foot tower will be built on the block of property where the old Spaghetti Warehouse was located.