'Road funding crisis' has caused paved road to revert to gravel
ELKHART, Ind. -- One Elkhart County commissioner is calling it a road funding crisis.
He said, to save money, CR 137 has gone from pavement to gravel.
The change happened so fast neighbors thought road crews were on their road to fill enormous pot holes that they said have formed on the worn pavement over the past few years. When they realized county road crews were there to pour a dirt-gravel mixure on the 1/2 mile stretch of road those who spoke with ABC 57 said they were not happy.
Dick Longcor lives on C.R. 137, he and other neighbors claim they were never notified that their paved road would become a gravel road. Longcor said he contacted Elkhart County Commissioner Mike Yoder and Yoder told him the county road crews would remove broken pieces of asphalt and then roll the gravel-dirt mixture onto the roadway. "They never hauled one piece of asphalt away and they never rolled it and it's a pretty shotty job," said Longcor.
Longcor has lived on the stretch of road for more than 40 years. He enjoys living on the street so much 8 years ago he moved down the road and built a new home on a 3.5 parcel of land.
Terry Masters, a school teacher at Fairfield High School, lives with her husband and their children on C.R. 137. They too thought road crews were on their road to repair the pot holes. She was disappointed to see the finished result was dirt and stone. "They just put the dirt in and as the dirt settles we are going to have holes again, now our cars are getting chipped up on the bottom," said Masters.
Elkhart County Commissioner Mike Yoder admits the road was in poor condition. "It was semi-paved and to do what is the best kind of road surface for that and those low traveled road and it's gravel, so we turned it back to gravel. It is lower cost for us to maintain," said Yoder.
These homeowners are worried that a dirt road will lower their property value. Longcor said, "we feel our market values of our homes have depreciated."
However Yoder said, "the county auditor told me it may not decrease their property value by as much as they think."
Masters said, "I guess I would like to see them fix it (the road) and not just go over the problem." Yoder says the road surely will not be fixed with pavement because it is too expensive when the road on average has 34 people traveling it daily. "A big part of this goes back to the reduce funding we have been receiving from part of the state with the motor vehicle highway fund," said Yoder. He also mentioned it costs close to $90,000 to pave a 1 mile stretch of county roads in comparision to $40,000 back in 2004. In order for a county road to be considered for asphalt repaving it must see somewhere between 120 to 130 vehicles per day.
County Commissioners may do the same for other roads in the near future to allow road repair funds to stretch farther.