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Cracks Develop Along Newly Opened Interstate 69

There are several sizeable cracks in the asphalt just south of the Patoka River Bridge on the Pike/Gibson County Line.

Cracks have developed along the newest section of I-69, just months after the first three sections of of the interstate from Evansville to the Crane Naval Center opened.

Though officials say they pose no risks to motorists, there are several sizeable cracks in the newly paved asphalt just south of the Patoka River Bridge on the Pike/Gibson County Line.

INDOT Spokesperson Cher Elliot says this type of cracking is a result of settling which is normal for any road that runs through this part of the state.

“In the past there has been extensive underground mining here in Pike and Gibson County, so that is why during the planned development we had chosen that asphalt be used to construct the roadway here in that area,” she says.

Elliot says asphalt is more conducive than concrete for building in areas that are susceptible to ground settling.

But critics of the road say asphalt was used because it’s cheaper than concrete.  In a 2011 interview with WTIU then Governor Mitch Daniels said he told engineers to build a functional road with the idea they could always add to it later.

“I don’t see the need to build a Cadillac if a good solid Jeep or Chevy will suffice for 20-30 years,” he says.

Asphalt companies close during the winter so INDOT will not be able to make the repairs until the plants go back online in the spring.

The 67-mile stretch of interstate opened to motorists in November. The section connecting Crane to Bloomington is expected to be completed by 2014.

Jimmy Jenkins

Jimmy Jenkins is a multimedia journalist for WFIU and WTIU news. A native of Terre Haute, he is a masters student at the Indiana University School of Journalism and is proud to be a part of the public broadcasting stations he listened to and watched since he was a child. Follow him on Twitter @newsjunkyjimmy.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/bob.eckert.50 Bob Eckert

    The untruthful spin by DOT is consistent with the fact that DOT is doing I-69 on the cheap and not using all the standards of interstate highway construction to not only get it done fast but get it done cheap. We will see many more defects as time goes on, especially in the very hot summer months. It wouldn’t surprise me if they filled sink-holes (common in south-central and southern Indiana) with landfill material (read that trash) and made the road surface oil-based asphalt instead of much longer wearing (5 years vs. 30 years) concrete. You get what you pay for.

  • Hobart Haynes

    If proper engineering/construction and inspection procedures are utilized then, “this type of cracking” is not normal. If INDOT built the road over a recently mined area, then you can expect settlement from 3” to 9″ per year depending on when the area was mined thru. To get the road open, “on schedule and within budget”, INDOT had to ignore proper engineering, construction and inspection procedures. From personal observations and observations of others, contractors were allowed to perform work in conditions that were unsuitable for the work that was being performed. The section in question will not be the only section that fails prematurely.

  • http://twitter.com/mpetrie98 Michael Petrie

    So INDOT makes the pavement only 8 inches thick, at least in the passing lane, to save money and build more miles of road, and guess what happens! Surprise, surprise, surprise! I would have rather INDOT simply built the first three sections with proper pavement thickness using the $700 million from Major Moves and whatever else they could scrape together. Section 4 to Bloomington really could have waited until another revenue stream was found or procured. Cracks might have happened anyway, but maybe not as soon.

  • http://twitter.com/mpetrie98 Michael Petrie

    I hope they did the drainage system properly. I’d hate to see the road suffer chronic flooding problems.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jean.bailey.smith Jeanne Smith

    History does repeat itself. This is the exact route of the Wabash Erie Canal that failed as quickly as it could be built at the end of water as a major transportation method and also connecting Canada to Mexico. This is an exact crossing point of the Wabash and Erie Canal and I-69. Ha ha ha ha. BTW $3 billion in Indiana tax (road dollars) is $1,000,000.00 + $1,000,000.00 1,000,000.00 + $1,000,000.00 three thousand times. The Indiana Business Journal had a great article this week questioning the wisdom of funneling all this money to building I-69 now when road funding is in decline and the Indiana Toll Road is not providing funding any longer.

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