CLARKSVILLE, IN (July 1, 2022) – Summer is here, and that means the annual appearance of orange construction barrels across southern Indiana. An inconvenient but very necessary problem here in the Town of Clarksville.
“Of course, the last thing I want to do is inconvenience homeowners,” said Clarksville Utility Director Brittany Montgomery. “but we have to do this to keep up with our system.”
Several infrastructure projects are currently underway across Town, but the largest is happening on Lincoln Boulevard.
“We are converting an old wastewater pump station into a gravity system. So what that allows us to do is better serve the areas that flow down Lincoln Drive,” said Montgomery. “This is everything from upstream along Lewis and Clark, including Blackiston Heights, some of Parkwood, and what it does is give us an overall better sewer system. It’s a total of a six-million-dollar project.”
A costly and necessary project that workers say, is being hindered by unsafe drivers. Just ask Rick Whistler, a Superintendent with Dan Cristiani Excavating.
“They can’t wait on us to get out of the way, they’ll just go around, go through Duke’s yard, or whatever and just anyway they can see an opening, they will cut through,” said Whistler.
Although crews say they have worked to provide residents with well-marked detours, drivers don’t seem to want to follow the rules.
“A lot of people don’t understand that this is tough work, I mean, its hot in the Summer and cold in the Winter and work long hours to get jobs done,” said Whistler. “It’s a dangerous job on top of that with digging in the ditch or the trench, but you know when you’ve got traffic and people trying to fly by you, it makes it that much more dangerous too.”
Town officials agree that the situation has become too dangerous to continue as is. That’s why the Town will be adding more permanent barricades in the construction zone such as fencing and concrete barriers. But that won’t be the only change drivers can expect.
“We will beef up our patrols in that area, especially while this construction is going on.”
Detective Corporal John Miller says the Clarksville Police Department will be heavily involved in trying to secure the work zone, with an increased focused on watching for speeders and drivers who go off road.
“As far as going around barricades or driving on public property or private property for that matter, it won’t be tolerated,” said Miller.
Miller says drivers could face increased fines for speeding or driving recklessly through the construction zone, so he is trying to make sure residents know it is best to follow the posted detour signs.
“We don’t want to give tickets at all, that’s not our goal out here, but we want people to operate their vehicles safely, especially around people,” said Miller. “The worst thing that we want is for a pedestrian or a worker in that area to be struck by a vehicle because people aren’t paying attention or they’re just trying to get in a hurry and get to where they need to go”
“I just tell people, when you are driving through any type of construction area, is to think about if that’s your dad, your daughter, your husband, someone that you love,” said Utility Director Montgomery. “They have the potential of getting hurt when they are already doing dangerous work as is.”
Work that is vital to those living in the area.
“If that pipe were to fail, we could back sewage up into your home of business, and that’s the last thing we want to do,” said Montgomery. “We’re just trying to be proactive; we want to get them in and out of here as quickly as possible, but we also want to do it in a safe manner.”
As far as construction timeline, Town officials have just released an update:
July 11th- August 31st (tentative): Lincoln Drive will be closed from Adam Street to Lynnwood Drive. This will be a hard closure with the only access for the local businesses. If you are going to Lincoln Heights or Lakeview you will have to come from Lewis and Clark Boulevard. Signage will indicate the detour and there will be a large hole (35 feet deep) preventing anyone from passing through.
September 1st through October 1st (tentative): Lincoln Drive will be closed from Lynnwood Drive to Lewis and Clark Boulevard. Drivers will not be able to access Lincoln Heights or Lakeview from Lewis and Clark Boulevard. The only exception will be for the homes directly on Lincoln Drive. Traffic to Lincoln Heights will have to go down Lynnwood Drive. There will be a full closure at Lewis and Clark Boulevard to help prevent cut through traffic.
To learn more about the project on Lincoln Boulevard, Click Here