News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 22, 2013

Some Vigo roads washed out

If repair money is not available, County Commissioners may close them

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Spring storms resulted in $250,000 in damages to roads in southern Vigo County, with costs including sand and labor to save homes near river bottoms, said county highway Assistant Superintendent Dan Bennett.

Bennett told the Vigo County Board of County Commissioners he met Monday with representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to survey damages.

“FEMA indicated there was some money available, but we don’t know how much or if we can put all the roads back,” Bennett said.

Sections of some roads, such as McNutt and parts of Robinson roads, still remain under water. “There are no houses along those sections and commissioners will have to determine whether to repair or close them. Typically when big huge scour holes are formed and take a road out in the bottoms, they generally build a levee around the hole,” Bennett said.

Much of the damage was a result of a 300-yard section of the Greenfield Bayou Levee failing, along with two sections of another levee in Prairieton, Bennett said.

Bennett said about three to four miles of total county roadway was impacted.

Commissioner President Judith Anderson said the county closed portions of river bottomland roads in 2008 as being too costly to replace. Now, commissioners are evaluating the current road washouts.

“If push comes to shove, we would have no choice but to close” damaged roads, Anderson told other commissioners. “Some of the roads we may have to make some adjustments to, but others are not as relevant to the public, which we have to evaluate.”

The Wabash River crested at 27.4 feet in late April, overloading some levees between Prairieton and Prairie Creek, but did not reach 2008 flood levels. Federal prison inmates filled sandbags at the prison while county highway workers transported the bags to needed areas.

 In addition, federal inmates from a minimum security camp helped fill and stack bags around a home in the southern portion of the county.

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