Commissioners hear complaint about guardrails
Controversy on new bridge discussed

Cathy May, Contributing Writer

“You shouldn’t have a new bridge and make it more dangerous than the old bridge.” That is a quote from Ripley County Commissioner Lawrence Nickell at the Commissioner’s meeting Monday, August 27. He was referring to the new bridge off Highway 50 on Cave Hill Road.

Nickell reported he has had several phone calls since the bridge opened last weekend from people who have been using the bridge and believe it to be dangerous. The main complaint is the need for more guardrails. The fall off from the road is very deep there and the public is concerned.

Nickell asked engineer John Graf about the concerns. Graf stated the bridge was built according to state specifications and are within the guidelines. However, if the Commissioners want to put up additional guardrails, they can.

There was some discussion about closing the bridge until the guardrails are up, but the Commissioners decided that since the state opened the bridge, it would be up to them to close it.

In other business, Attorney Jack Kellerman, representing Joe Smith, who bought Lot 20 in Bischoff Subdivision in Batesville from Patricia Hare, asked to have the vacation of County Road 400 E rescinded.

At the April 29, 2003 Commissioners meeting the road was vacated at the request of several property owners and the City of Batesville. However, Hare says she was never properly notified of the intended vacation of the road.

Since 2003 several truckloads of dirt have been placed on the road by Todd and Roberta Cook, one of the property owners. Joe Smith said he just needs enough road back to get access to his property. His property consists of 1.34 acres on the corner of Lakeview Drive and 400E.

The Commissioners said they would get with county Attorney Neil Comer and let them know as soon as possible.

Sheriff Tom Grills and Deputy David Pippin, were called to the meeting to explain to the Commissioners the problems with the HVAC system and the plumbing. The Commissioners said they should call Quality and they will make sure the jail is included in the maintenance agreement. Quality (QPH) is presently working on an air lock at the courthouse.

The officers were asked about grants available through Homeland Security. Grills replied that Wayne Peace is working on getting laptops for all their vehicles, which would have the GIS system. The sheriff said many times they are first on the scene and the GIS system would be a great help to the officers.

Training has started on putting parcels on the GIS system. The county surveyor’s office will start scanning the plat maps. Kelly Vollet is currently working on a grant for new recording systems for superior court and the Commissioner’s Room.

Darren Wood appeared to ask the Commissioners for an extension on his building permit that will expire on September 8. The Commissioners granted him another 180 days but said that would be the only extension he would receive.

All three commissioners were in attendance: Robert Reiners, Chuck Folz, and Lawrence Nickell. Auditor Mary Ann McCoy was present to advise the Commissioners. The next meeting of the Ripley County Commissioners will be September 10 at 8:00 a.m. at the Commissioner’s Room of the Ripley County Annex.

The new bridge over Cave Hill Road just opened and is already causing controversy. Some who have used the bridge say it isn't safe and needs more guardrails. Commissioner Lawrence Nickell said, "you shouldn't have a new bridge that is more dangerous than the old one."