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Fate of Doolittle Hill Road in council’s hands

The Harrison County Council has a decision to make regarding repairs to Doolittle Hill Road, northeast of Elizabeth.
The council needs to decide if it will spend $25,000 on engineering and design work to repair a split in the pavement, where one section of the road dropped several inches.
It happened approximately a month ago, and the road has been closed ever since.
At Monday night’s Harrison County Board of Commissioners meeting, the commissioners approved USI Consultants to design a retaining wall to address the problem and help prevent further drops on the road.
Harrison County Engineer Kevin Russel expects the repairs, if funding is approved, to take months to complete. Drivers in the area use the road to get from southern Harrison County to New Albany or Horseshoe Southern Indiana at Bridgeport.
Russel said traffic counts for the road are from 2006. Those numbers showed less than 700 drivers used Doolittle Hill Road each day. That year, the road suffered a similar slide in the pavement and the county spent close to $180,000 to construct a retaining wall.
Russel estimated the new wall would need to be longer, between 130 and 150 feet in length, and possibly taller, too.
At the last council meeting, on May 13, Russel told the council that, if they approve the design work, there would be another bill down the road for construction of the retaining wall.
‘We’ve kind of explained to them that, if they approve that, they are essentially giving us the green light to go ahead and pursue the project,’ Russel said.
The county engineer has told elected officials the repairs would be a permanent fix, but other sections of the road could have the same thing happen. History has shown the road has had even small infractions, and Russel added the road is subject to failures.
‘If we go another 13 years and don’t have a slide, it’s not because we did a really great job of fixing that one slide,’ Russel said earlier this month to the council. ‘If we go six months and have another slide, it’s not because we did a poor job of fixing that slide.
‘It’s just because of the geology and how the road’s built there,’ he said.
The council will meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Government Center (moved from Monday due to Memorial Day). It could decide then to fund the design work.
Also from the hour-long commissioners’ meeting Monday night, Russel said C&R Construction has finished asphalt resurfacing roads that were part of the county’s projects from 2018. Work on Big Indian Road to Tee Road and on Corydon-Ramsey Road was finished in the last week.
Russel said the project came in under budget, saving the county $1,765.88.
Commissioner Charlie Crawford asked that three employees at the Harrison County Animal Control Facility start getting paid $10 an hour.
The request was approved, and the pay raise will take effect retroactively to the start of the current pay period for the county.