Vevay Hill work will maintain roadway, but hill will close for more than a year


Work is being done on State Road 56 – commonly know in Switzerland County as “Vevay Hill” – and with current work centering on clearing the right of ways, a major project is just beginning that is not expected to be finished until July of 2013.

Brad Burk, project engineer and supervisor on the project for the Indiana Department of Transportation, said that the contract calls for the trees to be cleared so that utilities can be relocated. The tree clearing is to be done by October 31st according to the contract, and then the utility companies will come in, and are to have all of the utilities relocated by April 1st, 2012 – when the work to stabilize the road will begin.

The construction will involve a 2,600-foot retaining wall on the lower side of the road, which will keep the road from sliding down the hillside. A similar wall was built by INDOT on State Road 56 between Brooksburg and Madison several years ago.

Brad Burk said that wall will include 327 piers that have to be drilled.

And – for those who use Vevay Hill – the construction will completely close the road to traffic.

“Once we close the road in April, it won’t be opened back up until it’s done,” Brad Burk said. “July of 2013 is the completion date.”

He said that the original plans called for Vevay Hill to be closed completely when the tree clearing began; but before the plans were let INDOT made a change so that traffic would be allowed to move through the area with a flagger until the actual construction work begins.

The clearing of the trees on the upper side of the roadway caused some residents to speculate that some of the curves along the hill might be straightened; but the plans call for no work at the bottom of the hill or on the horseshoe near the top – but one of the less severe curves midway up the hill could be straightened as part of the plans.

The central point of the work – which totals over $6 million – will be the construction of that retaining wall, which should eliminate the slippage that has occurred in the past.