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Bridge outage causes 'dusty' headaches for Haendiges residents

October 01, 2008
Haendiges Road west of Marengo dominated much of Thursday night's Crawford County Board of Commissioners' meeting, as residents complained that increased traffic because of the "old town" bridge at Marengo being out has increased traffic on the road, which is mostly gravel.

The excess traffic has exacerbated a dust problem for the approximately nine families who live on the road. Although the road isn't the official detour as determined by the county, several motorists travel the road to get to and from S.R. 64 while the bridge, just north of the former Old Town Store, has been closed.

The residents complained that people using the road as an alternate route are speeding and, therefore, creating more dust and making a dangerous situation for young children who live on the road.

Asked that the road have a posted speed limit (if not posted, state law indicates the speed limit is 55 mph) and be chip-and-sealed to combat dust, District 1 Commissioner Larry Bye, president of the board and whose district includes the road, said the speed limit sign shouldn't be a problem, although it will take time, but the county only has about $900,000 for road improvements, which is divided equally among the three districts.

"We have very limited funds out there," Bye explained.

The residents, who said dust has been a problem on the road, but has gotten worse since the bridge has been out, asked how parts of other roads have received dust control. Bye answered that the roadway in front of residents with medical conditions who bring a signed doctor's statement are given priority.

Another resident noted that a hill on the road is almost washboard-like and needs attention. Bye said county highway workers will address the problem.

In other business, the commissioners:

•Voted 2-0 (District 2 Commissioner Randy Gilmore was absent) to have Bye, as president, sign the annual interlocal agreement with Harrison County that calls for Crawford County to receive 8 percent of the riverboat casino admission tax and gaming tax. The percentage is the same as past years, and Harrison County officials have already approved the agreement.

"We appreciate Harrison County, the commissioners and the council, agreeing to keep our share of the riverboat (revenue) the same as in the past," Bye said, noting the money has helped school and road projects.

•Voted 2-0 to open and take under advisement Requests For Proposals for engineering design work on a county bridge west of Marengo.

•Were asked for permission by Jon Kuss, executive director of Hoosier Hills PACT, to conduct a Men Against Violence Against Women event from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 14, in front of the Crawford County Judicial Complex at English.

Pizza, lapel pins and T-shirts will be available (first-come, first-served) to men who attend and sign a pledge against violence against women.

The commissioners voted 2-0 to allow the event on judicial complex property.

•Were also invited by Kuss to attend a ceremony for an award Hoosier Hills PACT will receive for its youth programs, including in Crawford County.

"We wouldn't be able to do all we're doing in Crawford County if it wasn't for all of you," he told the commissioners.

•Were asked by Crawford County Emergency Medical Services Director Debbie Wiseman for one of the commissioners to attend a Crawford County Council meeting to help explain her request that the commissioners approved subject to the OK of the county council.

The measure would increase the 24-hour on-call pay for EMS workers from $25 per 24-hour shift to $40. Wiseman had requested the increase, noting that higher gas prices have made it difficult to find on-call employees.

The council, however, denied the request when presented by just Wiseman, as it died for lack of a motion.

The commissioners indicated there wasn't much they could do since the council needed to approve the increase for it to take effect.

•Voted 2-0 to allow Bye to participate in an Emergency Management Agency district conference call.

•Voted 2-0 to allow the Crawford County Auditor's Office to close Oct. 20, 21 and 22 so employees can attend a conference in Clarksville.

•Were told by Bye that all of the permits, except for one from the Indiana Department of Environment Management, have been received for the downtown Milltown bridge project.

•Voted 2-0 to approve using $59,000 of the Orange County riverboat gaming revenue for outstanding bills at the Crawford County Highway Department. The county council, which must agree, has already given its OK.

•Approved, 2-0, using the Rainy Day Fund to pay windstorm cleanup bills.

•Announced their next regular meeting will be Thursday, Oct. 30, at 6:30 p.m. at the Crawford County Judicial Complex at English. A closed executive session will be held at 5.

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Barbara Shaw
Schuler Bauer
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