(WASHINGTON) - The state Department of Transportation responded to criticism leveled by residents and county officials Tuesday by explaining their reasoning for closing CR 125E for I-69 construction.
Nate Smith, of the Washington Times-Herald reports in a statement released by INDOT's spokesperson for the Vincennes District, the county did not tell state officials the road should not be closed at the same time as Troy Road.
"INDOT held maintenance of traffic meetings at the end of 2010 with each county in (I-69) Sections 1, 2 and 3, to go over the proposed road closures needed for the construction of I-69," the statement said. "Local emergency management agencies, county officials and school corporations were invited to these meetings to discuss the potential impacts to their operations."
The statement, which was also provided to the Associated Press, goes on to say no county official had any concerns about closing CR 125E and Troy Road.
Saturday, Commissioner Tony Wichman asked in the Times Herald that residents on those roads come to Monday's Commissioners meeting to voice concerns. Several, including fire and ambulance personnel, did say closing both of the roads at the same time would be a problem.
INDOT said in the statement the two roads will be closed together for about six weeks, depending on weather.
The agency also said the road will not be available for emergency traffic only.
"INDOT has also looked at providing temporary emergency access at the request of Daviess County Commissioner Wichman," the statement read. "This would require very costly temporary measures that would still cause negative impacts to the contractor's ability to do mainline I-69 paving and would create safety liabilities if used by the motoring public since it would be difficult to allow emergency vehicles access."
INDOT confirmed that by having both roads closed at the same time, they would save $500,000 in its construction contract with Walsh Construction, the builders for Section 2. The agency will also be elevating CR 125E, which has been known to flood.
"This commitment provides emergency access to two homes in the area of CR 250S which due to permanent road closures only have access via CR 125E," the statement read. "The alternatives would have been to buy their homes and relocate them."
While the statement provided reasons INDOT will keep the road closed, the agency is working with property owners in the area south of Washington. An example given was Camp Illiana. The director, David Bean, told INDOT he was concerned visitors would not be able to find the camp because of closures, the statement read.
In response, INDOT has placed detour signs in the area to find the camp.
"Field personnel will continue to work with the camp and property owners individually throughout the closures to address their concerns where reasonable and feasible," the statement read.
INDOT and the commissioners will meet for the first time publicly at the commissioners' next meeting on April 23. There, they will discuss the closure.
Individuals who want to discuss the closures can visit the I-69 offices at 64 N. Commercial Park Drive or call 254-2831.
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