Additional guardrails to be installed at Cavehill Road bridge

Cathy May, Contributing Writer

The bridge over Cavehill Road was a major focus of the September 9 Ripley County Commissioners meeting. Commissioner Lawrence Nickell closed the bridge last week until additional guardrails can be installed.

John Graf, who was the inspector on the bridge project, reported he is trying to get the guardrails included as part of the federal contract. The 300' within the confines of the project would cost about $17.50 a foot installed or $5,250. Ron May of the Indiana Department of Transportation in Seymour is confident that he can still get this done. He was called during the meeting and said he thought he could get an answer in two days. The project end date is Friday, September 14.

If the county is not able to get the additional guardrail as part of the project, they could ask for it to be a Z item. That means it could be done with the $10,000 of the county’s money that was not used in the project because of rip rap that could not be used. This money will eventually be returned to the county anyway.

The rest of the guardrail, which is outside the project limits, will be very expensive to install. To extend the guardrail another 50' to 80', the shoulder of the road would have to be built up. The cost for this section would be about $80.00 a foot. There are also some right-of-way issues.

At this point the commissioners decided to wait and see what Ron May could accomplish and go from there. The bridge will remain closed until the guardrails go up.

A situation concerning a vacated road in Batesville was worked out between the two property owners. Todd Cook appeared before the commissioners and said he is quick claiming a 15' section of the vacated road to Joe Smith, who will use it as a private drive and will be gated. County Attorney Neil Comer was asked by Cook if this issue could ever come up again. Comer said, “The only person who has a claim would be Joe Smith. If he agrees not to, then the matter is finished.” The commissioner’s position is that the road was properly vacated four years ago. The only issue left is differing surveys and that is a property dispute between neighbors.

Bill Ulerich representing QPH (Quality Plumbing and Heating) in Greensburg, presented the commissioners with a maintenance agreement for the Ripley County Jail. QPH already has an agreement to service the courthouse and the courthouse annex. The agreement was for $7,800 a year, which includes four regular maintenance inspections, plus changing the filters every six weeks for a total of 80 hours a year. The commissioners took the matter under advisement.

Tad Brinson appeared regarding planning and zoning issues. There still is a stripped trailer in Pierceville that doesn’t seem to belong to anyone. The courthouse shows no owner of record for the land it is sitting on and no taxes are being paid on the property.

County Attorney Neil Comer said the state is sending out a Request for Qualifications from engineering companies for a study on water suppliers to supply potable water to meet both the short and long term water needs for Decatur, Ripley and Jennings counties. The RFQ’s have to be returned to the Indiana Finance Authority by September 28. Interviews and reviews will be in November. Comer said the Vernon Fork Regional Water District was close to getting approval for formation.
In other business:

• EMS Director Scott Huffman said he was submitting a grant to the Ripley County Community Foundation for long backboards for $2,000.
• Letha Wilson was re-appointed to the board for the SIEOC.
• Autumn Hurm was appointed to the Batesville Library Board.
All three county commissioners were in attendance: Rob Reiners, Chuck Folz and Lawrence Nickell. County Attorney Neil comer and County Auditor Mary Ann McCoy were present to advise the commissioners. The next regular meeting of the Ripley County Commissioners is Monday, September 24 at 8:00 a.m. at the commissioner’s room in the courthouse annex.

Are you the owner of this trailer?
This stripped trailer is located on Highway 350 in Pierceville. The county commissioners would like to find out who owns the trailer and who owns the land it is sitting on so they can get it hauled away. If you have any information about the trailer or the property, please contact Ripley County Auditor, Mary Ann McCoy at 689-6311.