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Inclement weather delays connector road project

County to consider creating weed board
Inclement weather delays connector road project Inclement weather delays connector road project

Harrison County needs more money to move forward with a road project to alleviate traffic on Interstate 64, but officials said the request will actually decrease expenses overall.

During its final meeting of 2019, the Harrison County Board of Commissioners gave permission for the highway department and American Structurepoint, the construction management firm for the current phase of the Lanesville Connector Road project, to approach the Harrison County Council for an additional $406,197.99.

The request covers additional funds for American Structurepoint’s work, which is to oversee the progress of the primary contractor, Ragle Inc.

“The longer (Ragle is) there, the more (American Structurepoint) will have to be there to supervise them,” said Commissioner Charlie Crawford.

Poor weather conditions pushed back Ragle’s work on the project to construct a new road at the Lanesville exit on I-64 to S.R. 64 west of Georgetown.

The contract, which includes the Indiana Dept. of Transportation as a party, states the project would be completed by Nov. 5, 2019, according to American Structurepoint’s Josh Culver. Ragle has been given approximately 100 additional days due to the weather, and more days could be added in the spring if more bad weather occurs.

Culver said 25 days have been used from Nov. 5 to the beginning of December, but INDOT does not count any workable days during the months of December, January, February and March. Workable days will be reviewed again starting April 1.

“There are excusable delays they’ve incurred,” Culver said.

The additional request brings the total amount American Structurepoint will receive on the project to approximately $1.3 million, according to Culver.

“Harrison County’s expense will actually decrease in spite of this additional request,” said Glen Bube, superintendent of the Harrison County Highway Dept.

Additional federal funds became available in September that the county is now eligible for and, once secured, will provide about an additional $558,000, according to Culver. The Harrison County Council could approve the funding in January.

Culver said he now expects Ragle to finish its portion of the project in the middle of 2020. He added his company monitors weather and working conditions to decide if each day is considered a workable day or not.

Ragle could have to pay for damages if the work is not completed within another 75 days that conditions allow for progress to be made.

In other county business, the commissioners will take some time to determine if the county would benefit from a weed board.

Miranda Edge, Harrison County Purdue Extension Agent, is leading the charge to form a board, following the formation of an invasive species management group that began meeting approximately a year ago.

Edge said she wanted the commissioners to find three people to be a part of the board, which could include local farmers, township trustees and others in the county.

“This is probably long overdue and needs to be done,” said Commissioner Kenny Saulman.

The commissioners asked Edge to return with some rules, regulations and the direction the board would go before making a decision.

Edge complied, adding Dubois County has a weed board that she would research to learn about its goals. She said she wanted to find public land where invasive plants grow, such as Canada thistle and poison hemlock, to teach the public how to remove it. The hands-on education would allow residents to then take similar steps on their own property if they need the invasive species removed.