WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — A drought followed by major rainfall in 2015 are the two factors that have led to the washout of the northern part of Burnett Ranch Road, making it impassable.
The road is something residents, like Raymond Smith, said makes reaching their property almost impossible.
“We’ve owned property here since approximately 2009, and at that time the road was passable – it was maintained,” Smith said.
But that’s no longer the case. What used to be a passable stretch of land that would take you to the other side of Burnett Ranch Road has now almost become a part of Lake Buffalo.
The lake filled up and has since risen over the road, preventing cars, tractors – or any vehicle, for that matter – from crossing to the other side. The roadway is a problem that Wichita County Commissioner Barry Mahler said is among their top priorities to fix.
“It’s been about seven or eight years now since water has been over the road, and in the meantime, we’ve had engineers look at the project, we’ve had FEMA come up and inspect the project to make sure we weren’t missing something that we could be working on, and they all told us the same thing: you’ve got water over the road,” Mahler said.
Water over the road poses a threat to many residents.
“It’s created a number of problems, both for the residents of the area and for the farmers and ranchers,” Smith said. “I mean, farmers and ranchers have livestock they have to get to market. They’ve got to bring equipment down, back and forth to plow the fields.”
How exactly does the county plan on fixing this? First, get the lake levels down, and once they’re down, they can release some water and build the level of the road up.
“So we have procured materials to build, raise the levels of the road, we got equipment and a plan standing by, and the minute we have a chance to get on it, we’re going to bring the level of that road up where it won’t be a problem in the future,” Mahler said.
Mahler said the fix could be coming soon.
“We think we’re going to get a window of oppurtunity to get it repaired soon – in the next couple of months,” Mahler said.
“I’m hopeful to see that,” Smith said. “I believe in our elected officials. They are elected by a majority and there for a purpose; I like to work with them. If they say they’re going to do it, we’ll hold them to it and see what kind of progress we can make.”
Many will be on the lookout for the progress to come.
Mahler added that weather is another factor in how soon they’ll be able to start work on fixing that road.