For weeks, drivers at a busy Center Grove area intersection have been slowing down, waiting for the familiar bang and hoping their tires are OK.
At the beginning of the month, the Indiana Department of Transportation planned to spend two days grinding down troublesome spots near the intersection of Smokey Row Road and State Road 135 and then filling them with new, smooth pavement.
But only the first half of the work was completed, leaving a dip of several inches in both roads. On Wednesday evening, workers added pavement to smooth the abrupt drop, but the rest of the area still needs paved. And the state doesn’t know when the work will be finished. The holdup is due to the quality of the pavement that will be used.
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For now, the state plans to install large metal plates that will cover the dips until the new pavement is finally down.
“There’s maybe a 2-inch cut in the road, and when you hit that, it’s a pretty good bump,” said Tom Eaton, who lives 200 feet away and passes through the intersection at least twice a day.
“I’m surprised that there hasn’t been any tire blowouts.”
Eaton said he regularly hears the thumping sound of vehicles hitting the bumps after he gets home from work. He is used to the unusual noise but is frustrated that he has to hear it night after night from his home in the Tremont Estates subdivision, off Smokey Row Road.
“In the evening, you hear ‘bang’ all night long.”
Franklin resident Nancy Van Dyke, director of children’s ministries for Mount Auburn United Methodist Church, drives through the intersection at least twice a day and sometimes more. By now, she has memorized where the drop in pavement is, so she has learned to drive slowly, she said.
Depending on the time of day, Van Dyke has waited in traffic jams when drivers quickly slow down at the bumps in the road, causing the drivers behind them to slam on their brakes, she said.
The project, which included milling and repaving after a new stoplight and turn lanes were installed, was supposed to be completed by March 25. But work was delayed twice due to rain. Construction crews ground down the potholes, cracks and rough spots on the roads but left the dips in the road. And exactly when they will be filled isn’t known.
The state put a hold on the project due to an issue with the pavement mix, INDOT spokesman Harry Maginity said. The state is reviewing the quality of the pavement mixture that will be poured into the ground, and once it is deemed acceptable the project will be completed, Maginity said. The state is working with the same contractor to finish the project and will either keep the same pavement mix or use a new formula.
“There’s no cause for alarm, we’re just trying to get the best product that we can,” Maginity said. “We’re just reviewing the mix and possibly switching it ever-so-slightly.”
No deadline has been set at this time to complete the project. The project could be done in a week or it could be longer, Maginity said.
“Now we’re in a hiatus,” he said.
In the meantime, the state ordered metal plates to go over the dips in the road until they can get filled, Maginity said. The plates were ordered Tuesday, once state officials were alerted that the dips in the road were left uncovered. The state expects them to be installed within the next few days.