YUKON — The driver's license exam site in Yukon will close effective Monday, taxing a system already under fire for long wait times.
Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael C. Thompson, citing a faulty sewer line, called the building conditions “unsanitary.”
Department of Public Safety trooper Betsy Randolph said the office at 334 Elm Ave. would be closed indefinitely. Starting Monday, the four-person staff of the Yukon site will be moved to the state's new driver's license site at 728 E Interstate 240, which opened last month.
“We have bathrooms that work there,” Randolph said. “Out of order signs” were on both restrooms Thursday in Yukon and the doors were locked.
Randolph said it wasn't right to have people wait long periods of time and not have access to a restroom.
Jeff Hankins, director of driver's license services, said the sewer issue surfaced last year, and sewage often backed up into the restrooms. It would cost $10,000 to $11,000 to fix the problem, and Hankins said the state couldn't do it.
Hankins said the city allowed the state to use the office in a strip mall near downtown Yukon. The office had been in negotiations with the city and the property owner to fix the sewer line.
“We called as recently as yesterday and still got no firm commitment to fix it,” Randolph said.
About 140 people a day use the center.
Randolph did not rule out finding another location in the Yukon or El Reno area, but there are no definite plans.
Last year the state was criticized for excessive waits for teens to take the driver's examination. Some teens were showing up at 2 or 3 a.m. to wait in line to get an appointment to take the test.
“We certainly don't encourage people to do that,” Randolph said. “We're not here until 7 a.m.”
Hankins said some of the wait time has been shortened with the “In-Line Online” program where appointments can be made online.
“By using that the normal wait is 30 minutes,” Hankins said. “Without it, it's about two to three hours.”
Keith Morton and Terrie Hicks were in the office Thursday exchanging out-of-state licenses for an Oklahoma license. Hicks had a Texas license and now lives in Yukon. Morton had a Michigan license.
Both said they were glad to be taking care of it on Thursday instead of making a long drive to south Oklahoma City or Edmond.
“This place should be pretty crowded Friday,” Morton said.
Susan Knutson brought her granddaughter, Kylee Dungan, 15, for a driver's permit test. They had already made one trip to the south Oklahoma City site and said it was a 30-mile round trip for them.
“I really hope they rethink this,” Knutson said. “This office is needed for Yukon.”