Road named for Gene Autry undergoes repairs

By: Alex Belser Email
By: Alex Belser Email

CARTER COUNTY, OK - The road is named for singer Gene Autry, but few people driving on it today have anything to sing about.

The county is currently working on patching up Gene Autry Road, which is often used by trucks heading to gas wells in the area.

"Where the trucks made it go down, I had three wrecks out there already and one of them turned over and hurt somebody," county commissioner Bill McLaughlin said. "They are drilling wells everywhere. I can't keep them off the roads, but Gene Autry Road is the most important road for people get to Ardmore."

McLaughlin said crews will patch up Gene Autry Road from Sam Noble Parkway to Caddo Bridge. XTO Energy will put in half of the roughly $250,000 cost, after McLaughlin said the company initially promised more.

"State law says they have to put the road back exactly the way it was," McLaughlin said.

About 20 gas wells have popped up in the area, mostly since last summer. They take advantage of gas located underground in the Woodford Shale.

XTO Energy is also building a new office on 350 acres at the corner of Highways 77 and 53 near Springer.

Back on Gene Autry Road, crews are now starting to pave over gravel sections they put down in patches along the road, which have been kicking up lots of dust.

"They're repairing it, but they're not. It's all about the oil," driver Curtis Lee said.

The project should be done by June. Autry, who sung "Here Comes Santa Claus" and "Back in the Saddle Again," once owned a ranch in the area, and that is when the town was named after him.

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