(BLOOMINGTON) - Residents whose lives and lifestyles have forever changed by the new terrain construction of I-69 didn't think they would have to deal with construction workers defecating in the woods.
The Associated Press reports that Dinah and John Fuller reluctantly sold 1.3 acres of their little piece of paradise in eastern Greene County for the project that will diminish if not destroy the peace and quiet they've enjoyed for more than 20 years.
But they never dreamed the road construction would include working using their property as a toilet.
"The workers have been using our property as a latrine," Dinah complained to The Herald-Times . "It's just unbelievable to me. I guess I expect more out of people. Dogs at least cross the road to do their business. I guess maybe that's what these people thought they were doing, because the piles started about 6 to 10 feet inside our property line and extend about 100 feet back."
Fuller walked her property recently and pointed out the numerous places where toilet paper, paper towels and even a terry cloth rag marked spots where it appeared construction workers had treated the woods like a public toilet.
"I can stand right here and point out 10 places where people have gone," she said. "There are at least 25 I've counted, and the thing is, you can look through the trees and see the porta potty for the workers. I don't know if it's just laziness or what."
The Fullers first noticed the mess when John went out in early May to search for mushrooms on their 20-plus acres. Both were livid at what they found, but Dinah, a fifth-grade teacher at Eastern Greene Middle School, wanted the trespassing to stop and her property cleaned up.
She called the construction firm building the highway, Gohmann Construction of Clarksville, where an unidentified man said he was sorry to hear her complaint and said he'd look into it, she said. No one called back.
Dinah called the local Indiana Department of Transportation office managing Section 4 of the I-69 project and never received a return call. She even contacted the Greene County Health Department, where she was told there wasn't a lot they could do.
Fortunately, recent rains dissipated the piles of human excrement. "When they were fresh, there were literally swarms of flies buzzing around them," Dinah said.
As of late last week, it appeared that the practice had stopped as well. "No, nothing fresh," Dinah said. "Maybe somebody did talk to somebody. But I think the right thing to do now would be to clean up the mess. It would be easy to say, 'We didn't do it,' but c'mon. It's all right next to the construction site. Does anybody think people hiked into our woods and left 25 piles of crap?"
Cher Elliott, media relations director for the Vincennes District of INDOT, said it was difficult to pinpoint what workers might have been involved because there is a prime contractor (Gohmann), subcontractors and other workers on the road site.
"Gohmann did have conversations with their workers without knowing who was involved, and we made it very clear to them that this is not acceptable," she said. "It's gross and it's wrong."
For Dinah Fuller, it's been a very depressing beginning to a situation she doesn't know whether she can handle.
A self-described "outdoorsy" person, she said she'd raised her children to love walking in the woods, playing in the creek and sleeping outdoors. In 2001, she and her husband bought 20 acres adjoining her property, expanding her island of tranquility. "Well, my children got to enjoy it, but the grandchildren? I don't know," she said.
Right now, the roar of giant machines and the beeping sound of those machines backing up are a daily reality.
When I-69 is completed, it will be visible from her front porch. How loud it will be is an unknown.
"We looked into selling, but we couldn't find anything comparable, and at our age, we do not want to take on debt," she said. "My husband and I are both less than 10 years from retirement. We're just kind of stuck.
"We've come to accept the road is coming," she said, "but this - this literally makes me sick to my stomach."
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