I-69 Construction Work Blamed for Damage to Rural Roads

Some southern Monroe County residents say contractors building a section of the Interstate 69 extension are ripping up their rural, two-lane roads.

📅   Fri September 11, 2015 - Midwest Edition
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Some southern Monroe County residents say contractors building a section of the Interstate 69 extension are ripping up their rural, two-lane roads by using them to take heavy machinery and materials to construction sites.
Some southern Monroe County residents say contractors building a section of the Interstate 69 extension are ripping up their rural, two-lane roads by using them to take heavy machinery and materials to construction sites.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) Some southern Monroe County residents say contractors building a section of the Interstate 69 extension are ripping up their rural, two-lane roads by using them to take heavy machinery and materials to construction sites.

John Moore said he busted a tire and wore out a new set of ball joints in about six months because the roads are in such bad shape.

“Any road we travel is rough to get to Bloomington,’’ he told The Herald-Times.

Moore and neighbor Rita Lawrence said one road they use to get home was practically reduced to rubble. It was several days before a sign was put up warning drivers of a “rough road,’’ they said. The road has since been graded and covered with gravel.

Crews are building the I-69 extension’s Section 4, which stretches about 27 mi. (43 km) from Naval Surface Activity Crane in Greene County to Indiana 37 south of Bloomington.

Contractors are responsible for working with local governments to determine the best routes to haul equipment and materials, INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield said in an email.

“They enter into agreements with the local governments to take financial responsibility or to repair damage relating to construction traffic,’’ he said.

Bill Williams, director of the county’s highway department, said most of the contractors have insurance bonds that allow the county to file a claim if roads are damaged. In the case of Victor Pike — the road Moore and Lawrence use — there was no such agreement, but Williams said contractor E.S. Wagner Co. of Oregon, Ohio, has given the county $300,000 to resurface the road.

However, the county isn’t going to have that work done until E.S. Wagner’s trucks are finished hauling stone out of Indiana Limestone Co.’s Victor Quarry at the end of the construction season in October or November.

Williams said he can understand the frustration of people living in the area, but the county is doing the best it can to manage the situation until highway construction is complete.

“I don’t blame them,’’ he said. “It’s different from what it was, but we try to work with the state and the contractors to minimize it.’’

Williams said the county also is waiting to resurface other sections of roads in the area because overpasses are still being constructed. In the meantime, if people are having issues with road conditions, he said they should contact the highway department.

“Let us know and we’ll get with the I-69 contractors,’’ he said.