A soil clean up project that requires the removal of the center lane at the intersection on Independence west of Center has been delayed by more than a month, according to city officials.


A soil clean up project that requires the removal of the center lane at the intersection on Independence west of Center has been delayed by more than a month, according to city officials.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission oversees the project that was slated to begin removing contaminated soil Oct. 25, but a consultant for the project has not yet hired a contractor.

“There are a lot of contractors that are shying away from it because it’s such a delicate situation,” OCC hydrologist Michael Kennedy said.

The project requires the removal of contaminated soil from a fuel leak from a Sinclair gas tank. The fuel breached a utility trench down the center lane of the streets and is close to a 10-inch water main.

This makes the work somewhat precarious because a mistake could cause a water outage or possibly contaminate city water, Kennedy said.

“So we are being very proactive in trying to find someone who has experience,” Kennedy said.

The OCC is not responsible for hiring the contractor but they are funding the project and have final say over who does the work.

Therefore, the OCC is scrutinizing potential contractors to ensure the work is done thoroughly, which has lead to the delay, Kennedy said.

“This is actually a very good example of government working correctly,” he said. “I personally want somebody with a lot of experience.”

City officials were not aware that a contractor had not been secured when they approved the job at the Oct. 18 city commissioners meeting, City Manager Brian McDougal said.

Before commissioners approved the project, Sequoyah Elementary School Principal, Jesse Field, asked the city to postpone the project until the end of the school year because it could adversely affect school traffic because the project would remove the center lane of the intersection that eight school buses drive through twice a day. The intersection is a main artery for parents picking up students and pedestrians.

Officials now hope to start the project during the first half of December, which could alleviate some of the school’s concerns and minimize traffic congestion because Shawnee school is on Christmas break from Dec. 16 to Jan. 4, Superintendent Marc Moore said.