‘Stuff bouncing off your hood:’ Construction on I-69 causing possible damage, crashes

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ANDERSON, Ind.– An aging stretch of I-69 is in the midst of a much-needed makeover, but drivers are saying the upgrades are degrading their vehicles.

From October 2018 through February 2019, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) said they have received 193 reports from drivers complaining about the road, however all the incidents are not pothole-related. INDOT is in a scheduled resurface project for the stretch from Pendleton to Daleville.

“We saw a lot of potholes in the area, so our contractor actually took over pothole repair,” INDOT’s Mallory Duncan said. “We did some strip patching in the area over the winter, and we are in full swing construction.”

Commuters believe the road work is leading to dings on their cars from debris kicking up. Jeremy Hensley makes his commute through the area on his way to southwest Indy. He got his truck less than a year ago, and already it has visible marks in the paint and a crack in his windshield.

“You hear stuff bouncing off your hood, bouncing off the window,” Hensley said, “A lot of uneven ground, a lot of construction going on, very narrow lanes, every day I’m going through this, I see lots of cars off the side of the road. On the car, I’ve got four or five nicks taken out of it, insurance is not going to pay for it.”

“You’re going to need to file a tort claim,” Duncan said of anyone with damage who is looking for reimbursement from the state, “That’s with the state Attorney General’s Office.”

As for crashes, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute said between Delaware and Madison counties there have been 186 accidents from October 2018 to February 2019, with 25 causing injuries, and one person being killed. INDOT said the crashes are the cause of drivers speeding and not paying attention to changing traffic patterns due to shifts in construction.

“The lane you drove in yesterday, might not be the lane you drive in today or tomorrow,” Duncan said. “The speed limit hasn’t changed. It’s 45 mph throughout that entire stretch. We had a construction worker who was in his truck in the area, and he was rear-ended by another person not paying attention driving way too fast.”

Road work is expected to be complete by end of construction season this year. Drivers can expect some new closures soon as teams work on certain bridges.

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