Center Grove area paving project that was supposed to be done seven weeks ago is still on hold, and officials aren’t sure why.
Two portions of State Road 135 near Smokey Row Road were ground down last month, with a promise to pave the road the next day, but the project is still not finished. The work was supposed to take two days to complete in late March; but now half the job has been completed, and there is no date set for when the rest will be done.
Some motorists are growing tired of driving slow over the two patches of unpaved road. Traffic jams happen because drivers have to suddenly slow down when coming up to the patches because of the drop and the damage they fear it will cause to their vehicles.
Greenwood resident Jim England drives through that intersection three or four times a month to visit his daughter, who lives south of Smokey Row Road. England drives a truck so he can glide over the bumps in the pavement. But his son-in-law drives a low-profile car, so he has to slow down when he reaches the dips in the pavement or else the car could bottom out.
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England always knows when he’s getting close to the rough patches because other vehicles slow down to keep from hitting the divots in the pavement.
Smoothing and repaving the road was supposed to be the final step of a $1.3 million state project to improve the intersection. Construction crews widened the intersection and added a stoplight and turn lanes. The paving work that is still incomplete originally was supposed to take two days, starting March 25. But signs that notify drivers of the dip in the ground are still present, drivers slam on their brakes to avoid damaging their vehicles when they hit the dips, and commuters and nearby residents are clueless as to why the work still is not done.
So is the state.
“There is not a typical timeline for this type of review, but unfortunately it is taking longer than normal for this contract,” said Will Wingfield, media relations director for the Indiana Department of Transportation.
At first, the project was delayed due to bad weather. Then, INDOT officials decided to check the quality of the pavement that will laid down on State Road 135. On April 22, construction workers poured a line of pavement to lessen the steep 2-inch drop when cars would hit the unpaved patches of road.
Now, officials are simply not sure why the project is not completed yet.
The state has been testing the quality of the pavement for about two weeks, and now construction crews who want to finish the project are playing the waiting game. Officials test the quality of the pavement to make sure the asphalt poured into the ground will be a durable product in the end, Wingfield said.
The state should release an updated schedule of the project this week, but no completion date has been set at this time, Wingfield said. He does not know when the quality control testing will be done.
Since this is a longer-than-usual wait to finish the project, the state is looking at ways to minimize the bumps for drivers on the road.