Oklahoma DOT Crews Rush to Help Tornado Victims

AASHTO Journal, 24 May 2013

More than 400 employees of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority assembled in the Moore area south of Oklahoma City this week, where an EF-5 tornado devastated the community and took dozens of lives.

The ODOT crews began their work on Monday, bringing equipment to help in the cleanup efforts after the tornado struck. Later in the week, ODOT switched focus from recovery operations to debris removal and cleanup with other federal, state, and local agencies. Crews are also assisting local officials with traffic control in various areas.

“ODOT crews from across the state have been working tirelessly to help clear storm debris and reopen the highways and city streets in Moore,” said ODOT Director of Operations Casey Shell. “We’re proud to partner with local agencies to get the job done quickly and safely.”

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin declared a State of Emergency Sunday for several counties in order to expedite resources to the most affected areas for recovery and cleanup purposes. President Obama also pledged that the federal government would be deploying any resources necessary, which he is expected to reiterate during a visit to Moore this weekend.

“The people of Oklahoma are resilient,” Fallin said in a statement. “The grief we are experiencing right now is indescribable. But we have seen tragedy before, and we have recovered and emerged as stronger people and a stronger state.” ​​​​

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