State Road 129 reopens for the winter, progress continues toward Pleasant

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Switzerland County motorists that have been using county roads to get around construction on State Road 129 this summer and fall can now take the more direct route, as traffic has reopened on the roadway for the winter.

Under the terms of the construction, the roadway is closed from April 1st to December 1st each year so that Indiana Department of Transportation workers can safely work on the road. On December 1st, workers move off of the roadway, allowing winter traffic through the area. There may be some temporary delays for drivers, but the road is officially open.

Work began on the south end of the project, which stretches from State Road 56 on the west side of Vevay approximately 13 miles to the north, ending at State Road 250 in Pleasant. Work last year began at State Road 56, creating a new entrance for the highway by moving it to the west and to the other side of the Switzerland County YMCA.

Much of the work involves straightening out most of the sharp curves in the roadway that have caused dangerous driving in the past. A new bridge has also been installed over Long Run creek, which takes out the old curved bridge in favor of a more straight path across the bridge.

Demolition work above the existing road allowed INDOT to move the new road up the hillside more, which will keep the roadway from eroding along the creek bank.

Workers this summer have been working between Long Run Creek and Long Run Baptist Church – with the biggest change for local drivers being the relocation of the roadway near the church.

Prior to now, State Road 129 has been in front of Long Run Baptist Church, making a sharp left hand turn around the church property, with Parks Ridge Road going straight off of the highway in that curve.

Now, the road runs behind the church building, cutting a path through what was a field behind the church and also another field that was on the other side of the original road near John Keeton’s former home. Workers have constructed a new entrance onto the roadway, with the church now being located on Parks Ridge Road.

With the road now reopen to traffic, INDOT workers are now striping the new portions of the roadway, and guard rails are expected to be installed within the next week. Signage is also being put up.

The work on State Road 129 has gotten to the community of Moorefield; and next Spring workers will continue their movement north toward Pleasant. Work is expected to be completed on the project in October of 2007.

Ivan Green, transportation director for Switzerland County Schools, says that the reopening of the roadway will have a positive affect on bus routes.

“It will bring us back to normal routing there,” Ivan Green said. “We’ve been cutting around every other road trying to get to get around that small section. That small section from Moorefield to Parks Ridge really had us shut down. We had a terrible time getting around that.”

Ivan Green said that all routing coming through Green Valley and other areas all originates off of State Road 129, so county roads that were out of the way had to be used just to get to Craig Township.

The work also meant a detour for students going to the Southeast Career Center in Versailles each day; along with additional mileage for extra curricular teams and groups going to events to the north.

“I’m glad it’s open,” Ivan Green said.

Even though workers have reopened the highway to traffic, motorists are asked to drive the roadway with caution, because work will be going on along the roadsides of the highway throughout the winter.

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The work on State Road 129 is just one of many highway construction projects that is benefiting the residents of Switzerland County.

The Switzerland County Commissioners and County Council have continued their aggressive paving program for county roads; while a new bridge has been installed over Indian Creek for State Road 56 west of Vevay. The county is installing a new bridge over Turtle Creek near Florence; and the connector road running from the Markland Dam south to Interstate 71 is having a benefit for local drivers.