PETERSBURG - Concerns over safety during flooding along the East Fork of the White River on SR 257 has state and local officials looking for answers. Indiana Department of Transportation officials met with police and local leaders from Daviess and Pike County, along with State Representative Mark Messmer and State Senator Lindel Hume.
The location has been the site of at least four drownings when people have driven around barricades in the roadway and into flood waters south of the Capehart Bridge. The last death happened in December and took the life of Cathryn McGill, 31, of Des Plains, Ill.
“Since the latest drowning both Senator Hume and I have received numerous letters of concern about that section of SR 257,” said Rep. Messmer. “We sent those on to INDOT and then decided we needed to get local and transportation officials together to look at the problem and potential solutions.”
Normally, when the East Fork of the White goes out of its banks at the Pike-Daviess County line, the state puts up signs and barricades at the bridge. All of the people who died in the flood waters disregarded the warnings and drove into the water.
“The initial reaction I received from INDOT was that they could not put up more substantial barricades,” said Messmer. “I checked the manual and found it doesn’t prohibit them, but does require the state take specific actions to do it.”
INDOT District Director Rusty Fowler was among those at the meeting. “He called it very positive,” said INDOT spokesman Cher Elliott. “We had a very open discussion on ideas and are trying to determine what is the right solution. It needs to be something that is cost-efficient, that we can install and is easy to use. We also have to be certain we do it right so that one solution doesn’t create a new problem.”