Crothersville wants to fix drainage issue on edge of town

CROTHERSVILLE

After a heavy rain, a ditch on the southern edge of Crothersville overflows and nearly reaches the front of homes.

It has been that way for a while, and town Councilman Bob Lyttle said it needs to be resolved.

“I know it’s got fiber optic lines in there,” he said of lines in the ground in the area along U.S. 31 or Armstrong Street. “If we can’t do (the work to fix it), then I think we need to be looking at somebody that can do it. That problem needs to be fixed. That’s an eyesore when you come into town.”

The council first discussed the issue during the July 2018 meeting. After that, town employees fixed sinkholes in the parking lot at the nearby Marathon gas station in hopes that it would alleviate the drainage issues.

During a council meeting earlier this month, Lyttle shared his concerns, which were echoed by town employees.

Grover Stacey, who owns a building with apartments in the area, also agreed that it’s a problem.

“It gets almost into the doors of those two apartments if it rains real hard. It has been that way for a year or two,” he said.

“It’s time it needs to be fixed,” Lyttle said. “If we don’t have a way to locate those lines with that fiber optic, we need to get somebody in there that can.”

Wastewater Superintendent Mason Boicourt said he’s not sure if they want to tackle the project again after there were issues while digging the first time.

“There’s not only live fiber optic, there’s old fiber optic, and when we were in there digging, the old wasn’t marked when we hit it,” he said. “We shut down because if you hit live fiber optic, (the company that owns the lines is) going to own every piece of equipment you’ve got on the job site.”

Luckily, it was old fiber optic line, he said.

“They didn’t really know whether it was old or not, so it kind of makes me nervous about digging in there because they don’t know what they’ve got in there — what’s live and what’s not,” Boicourt said. “If we hit it, it’s going to be our fault. There’s a factor of risk in there. Whoever goes in there and digs that up, they are going to take on that risk, and they are going to want compensated for it.”

The storm sewer line pipe is bad, too.

“It’s galvanized, and it’s rotted completely out. There is no bottom to it. It’s dirt at the bottom and galvanized pipe at the top,” Boicourt said.

Debris also is an issue with the nearly 100-foot-long line.

“The only part that doesn’t have anything in it is the part we fixed, and it’s plastic,” Boicourt said. “What we hooked to is junk. It’s just held together with mortar basically, and you’ve got to put asphalt back, too, unless you just want to leave gravel, which I doubt they want that at Marathon. The state probably wouldn’t like that anyway.”

The Indiana Department of Transportation has told Boicourt a right of way permit is needed to do the work because one of its roadways, U.S. 31, is just a few feet away from the sinkholes. He, however, said the sinkholes are not in the state’s right of way.

Lyttle said he hasn’t had much luck with INDOT, either.

“I’ve talked to the state until I’m blue in the face, and the only thing they are going to say is ‘You get a permit to fix it. We’re not fixing it,’” he said.

Lyttle asked Boicourt to seek estimates on the cost of the work and present them to the council at its next meeting, set for 6 p.m. Feb. 5 at the town hall.

“Get us some numbers if you can,” Lyttle said. “Let’s see what we can do. That needs to be fixed.”