Rainy June delays some sealing, paving, other city, county maintenance projects

GREENFIELD — Potholes and cracked sidewalks will plague city and county streets a bit longer than officials had hoped, thanks to Mother Nature.

Above-average rainfall in June and July has delayed street and sidewalk repair work throughout the county. Since June 1, the area has received more than 12 inches of rain, more than double the normal average for June.

City and county officials are asking for residents to be patient, as crews put in extra hours to make up for lost time.

The county’s biggest challenge has been repairing potholes, patches for which require dry pavement, Hancock County highway engineer Gary Pool said.

The department has been repairing potholes since winter and began repaving roads in early June, but weeks of rainy days have put crews behind, Pool said.

They’re on schedule for paving, but shifting focus to potholes will likely delay that schedule as well, he said.

“It’s really impacted us. Every time it rains, we can’t do anything,” he said.

Pool is asking residents to continue to be patient; crews have been working overtime since early this year and will continue to log extra hours.

He hopes to catch up this week, if the rain will let up long enough to allow crews to do so.

It didn’t look promising Tuesday and Wednesday when it rained most of the day. On Tuesday, about 4.5 inches of rain fell in central Indiana.

In Greenfield, rain hasn’t delayed street paving plans because that work wasn’t scheduled to begin until next week. It has, however, set back crews working to repair stretches of sidewalk across the city, said Greenfield street commissioner Tyler Rankins.

The contractor working on repaving roads is ready to begin next week, but if it does keep raining, crews will have to adjust the schedule again, he said.

The Hancock County Highway Department’s plans for the summer included repairing potholes, repaving roads and sealing cracks and chips. Nearly every road was scheduled to receive some type of maintenance.

The department has more than $2 million budgeted for road maintenance this year.

The city hired Crim and Sons Paving to repave nine sections of streets. Crews are expected to begin that work next week.

The city department also plans to spend $50,000 on sidewalk repair. Some of that work already has been completed, but consistent rainy weather posed challenges for crews working on the project.

Once the weather dries up, Rankins said he believes crews will get caught up, he said. Sidewalk work can be done through fall.

Indiana Department of Transportation road work in Hancock County hasn’t been substantially delayed, said Nathan Riggs, INDOT public information director.

“Contractors must schedule around rain every year. It can affect day-to-day progress, but over weeks or months of a project, crews can typically make up for lost time,” he said in an email.

As for potholes on county roads, Pool said he expects crews to be back on schedule shortly.

He cautioned drivers to stay alert. Rain puddles can hide potholes, creating dangerous situations. Most of the major potholes on busy county roads have already been repaired, he said.

In the meantime, he’s looking forward to sunny days.

“I’m not panicked yet,” he said. “Surely it will quit raining.”

Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.