Switzerland County and all of Indiana and the region have been hammered by heavy rains this spring, and a downpour on Sunday night caused some damage to Ferry Street (Highway 56) on the north side of town —but luckily it wasn’t as severe as first feared.
Vevay Town Council President Keith Smith said that a deluge of rain in the late afternoon/early evening on Sunday caused damage to State Road 56 and to a sidewalk in the 500 block of North Ferry Street.
“Right there about 514 Ferry, near Jackson Street, there was a blockage underneath the sidewalk, and that needs to be an open ditch,” Smith said. “Evidently when the sidewalk was poured at some point, some plywood that they used when they poured the walk was left behind, and over the years it kind of eroded away.”
Smith said that the crumbling plywood fell down into the ditch, causing a blockage and leaving the rainwater with nowhere to go.
“Somehow the plywood got jammed underneath there, and when the water didn’t have anywhere else to go, it busted the sidewalk and pushed it up to where it let the water come out. Once it came out it started running down Ferry, and there was a lot of water running down the street.”
Smith said that the escaping water led to a ‘bubbling’ of the asphalt on the northbound lane of State Road 56, just south of the Jefferson-Craig Firehouse and across from the Our Most Sorrowful Mother of God Catholic Church.
“Everybody thought the road was coming up,” Smith said. “Officials from INDOT were here almost right away to assess what was going on, and they did a good job.”
Smith said that he was told by an official from the Indiana Department of Transportation that when the road was resurfaced by the state at some point in the past, workers milled down about three inches and then applied the new asphalt.
‘They said that there was a gap or a crack where the asphalt met the road base,” Smith said. “The water found that gap, and got between the pavement and the base, and that caused an area to bubble up. He said that the bubbling showed that the water was between the pavement and the base, and that the base of the road is good shape. Had there been something wrong with the base of the road, it would have just collapsed. The base is in great shape.”
While an assessment of the situation took place on Sunday night, a section of the road was closed just south of the firehouse. Travelers coming down Vevay Hill could either turn onto Walnut Street or continue down the hill and access Turnpike Street at the bottom of Vevay Hill to get around the area.
Workers from INDOT were on the scene on Monday, and fixed the damaged area and restored traffic by late Monday afternoon.
Smith said that the town has Parham Construction working on the sidewalk, and the ditch is being cleaned out to avoid this happening again in the future. Smith said that he expects once the section of concrete sidewalk is removed, the town will place steel plates there until the sidewalk can be fixed more permanently.
“It wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked,” Smith said. “I want to thank everyone for their patience and understanding while we got this taken care of.”