County crews busy repairing roads


County highway department crews have spent the past few days repairing roads over pipes and culverts washed out because of flash flooding and cleaning log drifts caught behind some of the bridges and larger structures.

But they are going to have a lot more work once the floodwaters of the rain-swollen East Fork White River and the Vernon Fork of the Muscatatuck River fall back below flood stage.

That’s not expected to happen to the White River at Rockford, where flood stage is 12 feet, until about 9 a.m. Saturday. It will be at least another 24 more hours before it falls at Brownstown.

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By that time, county highway superintendent Warren Martin should have a better idea of how much road was washed away by the fourth-highest river level in recorded history.

Martin said he knows there will be damaged roads from the flooding, which sent the river to a crest of 19.53 feet early Wednesday.

It’s not known at this time how much damage there is, but numerous county and state roads remained closed Thursday into today.

On Thursday morning, the county’s three road crews had repaired flood damage around pipes and culverts and removed all of the log drifts that could be reached, Martin said.

“We won’t know about road washouts until we get the water off the roads,” Martin said of inspecting for damage. “We just have to wait until that happens. We’ll have debris we have to shove off the roads. Hopefully, we won’t have a great deal of washouts.”

Some of the damaged structures eventually will be replaced, but all were repaired enough to reopen, he added.

Martin said he and his staff have been busy documenting damage in case federal grant money becomes available for storm damage.

The flooding also has created some issues at Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge east of Seymour. According to its Facebook page, a portion of the auto tour route and southern portions of the refuge remained closed Thursday because of flooded roads.

To report road damage, call the highway department at 812-358-2226.

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