Construction along US 36 delayed several months due to communication issues

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AVON, Ind. — The Indiana Department of Transportation said construction along U.S. 36 in Avon is hitting a roadblock.

Several Comcast utility lines need to be moved in order for the project to move forward, but INDOT said getting ahold of the company has been a struggle.

“We’re having issues with any communication and not getting a plan on when they would be out there and when they would get the utility moved out of the way,” said Debbie Calder, INDOT’s communications director for this project.

Right now, Calder said INDOT contractors are working around the unmoved utility lines and installing storm sewers to improve drainage along the corridor.

INDOT’s construction project engineer said the project is approximately one third completed. Calder said crews will continue to work on what they can until winter hits. However, she said delays in moving the utility lines will most likely lead to a six month delay.

“Sometimes the smallest things can create the biggest problems,” said Avon’s town manager, Ryan Cannon. “This is kind of a good example of that.”

According to Calder, INDOT’s utility administrator last heard from Telecom, Comcast’s company in charge of their relocation, on September 24. Cannon said when INDOT never received a response after several attempts, the town was notified during a project progress meeting later that month.

“We don’t even know what the impact to the project is until we get definitive answers from Comcast on when they’re going to relocate,” said Cannon. “When we didn’t get anything them, we felt that we needed to at least share with the public what we already knew.”

Officials with the Town of Avon went on to post this social media post:

The day after this post, and just hours after FOX59’s inquiries, Comcast was able to provide an answer to INDOT and Avon officials.

“We did hear back from Comcast today, so I think the wheels will start moving, and we will see some action with them to get out there and get the utility relocated,” said Calder.

According to Avon Communications Director Jared Wade, the director of government affairs heartland region for Comcast confirmed that the final section of work that needs to be completed on U.S. 36 is scheduled to be completed by October 20. 

“Sadly, this doesn’t get INDOT back on course, but [we] at least have open communication with Comcast,” said Wade. “We are hoping for an official release from INDOT regarding an updated completion date for the U.S. 36 widening project as soon as possible. We will be happy to share that information with community once we receive it.”

Comcast also responded to our own inquiries with a written statement that reads:

Like every provider, utility and any other entity that may be using a trench on a major project like this, we have to wait our turn and follow the proper order of operations. We tried to get in the ground and the site wasn’t ready for us to begin work as other entities using the trench encountered multiple delays. We will continue to work with our partners at INDOT who are managing the project to ensure that our work is properly and safely completed.

Mike Wilson — public relations director, Comcast-Indiana

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