County to place guardrails to stop traffic near Huntingburg Conservation Club

The downstream side of the spillway with the added siphons. The bank and rock underneath the spillway have been washed away by the flooding.

County officials are taking steps to ensure drivers don’t use County Road 100 West near the Huntingburg Conservation Club.

The road has been closed since the rain the area received in early May flooded the lake. Twice within the span of a week the lake rose and damaged the spillway underneath the county road by washing out sections of the structure.

According to County Highway Superintendent Steve Berg, the road has been inspected but with the age of the spillway and lack of details on how it was built, they are unsure about the safety of the road. “There is a pretty good cut underneath it,” he said. “To make it safe, we just decided to close it to everyone.”

During Monday’s meeting, Berg and County Engineer Brent Wednholt stated they were considering removing the road surface so it couldn’t be driven across.

But in a conversation with Berg today, he stated they were planning on adding guardrails north and south of the┬álake to stop traffic from driving across the surface. Signs will notify the public of the closure. “Instead of going to that extreme (removing the road surface) we will put up some guardrails,” he said. “We’re not trying to be horse’s butts out here, we are just trying to protect the public.”

Berg estimated that drivers coming from either direction would need to take about a mile detour due to the closure. “It’s a little bit of an inconvenience but that’s what you will have when you have road failures of this sort,” he said while acknowledging the inconvenience it will cause for┬áthe local residents.

If drivers circumvent the guardrails, Berg said the county won’t bat an eye about removing the surface of the roadway.

The Huntingburg Conservation Club is trying to work out a solution to repair the dam so the lake and road can reopen for use. They ran into issues due to the size of the dam which is taller than 20 feet requiring that any repairs must meet state and federal guidelines. This has greatly increased the cost to enact those repairs which have been estimated as approaching $500,000.

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