News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 24, 2013

More land for 641 bypass set for trial

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The road to the 641 bypass is being rerouted through the Vigo County court system, as at least two disputes over properties are scheduled to go before a jury to determine fair market value.

The Indiana Department of Transportation acquired 93 properties for the 6.2-mile, divided, four-lane 641 bypass, of which 25 were taken under eminent domain, said Debbie Calder, INDOT spokeswoman.

Now, just five of those properties remain in settlement stages. The largest of those is 49.865 acres owned by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, and it is one of the two scheduled for trial.

“This will not impact State Road 641 [construction] progress, as INDOT has deposited payment with the court and has possession of the properties,” Calder said.

However, a civil lawsuit last week could be an indication that the properties could cost the state more than it has offered in mediation.

A six-member jury last week ruled that the fair market value of about 22 acres on the southwest corner of Interstate 70 and Indiana 46 was $1.32 million.

That property had gone through eminent domain in 2009; the state of Indiana plans to use a portion of that property as an off-ramp for a reconfigured I-70 interchange that will connect to the Indiana 641 bypass.

However, property owners and the state could not reach an agreement in mediation in 2011, sending the issue to Vigo County Superior Court Division 2 for a jury to decide the land’s value.

Property owners Dr. Primo A. Andres, Dr. Ramon R. Contreras and Dr. Zenaida M. Contreras contended the property was valued at $1.2 million to $2.2 million.

Howard Stevenson, attorney representing the state, had urged the jury for a ruling of between $145,500 and $325,000.

The jury found the land was worth much more than the state’s estimates.

The issue of price on Rose-Hulman’s property is set for trial on Nov. 18 in Vigo County Superior Court Div. 1. The state filed a lawsuit July 29, 2011, to determine the property’s fair market value.

In that case, the state offered $1,186,965 to Rose-Hulman in mediation. However, the state and RHIT could not agree on a purchase price. The majority of this property is south of Moyer Road, on the west side of Indiana 46. There is also property that fronts Moyer Road and goes south along Indiana 46.

The bypass is to arch through the middle of the main section of this property.

Another property slated for a trial belongs to Barbara J. Chandler and First Financial Bank, which holds a mortgage. This 18.427-acre site has land that contains a tributary to Little Honey Creek.

In this case, the state offered $178,883 in mediation for the property, but again, the state and landowner/bank could not agree on a purchase price. The state filed lawsuit on Aug. 2, 2011, for a trial to determine fair market value.

This property is scheduled for trial Oct. 7 in Vigo County Superior Court Div. 1.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or