Work to begin on Mishawaka road undermined by historic flooding

WSBT 22 photo

INDOT is working on a solution to a problem that's been impacting a busy road for the past four months.

You may have noticed a lot of orange barrels blocking off part of Lincolnway West near Logan in Mishawaka.

That road was damaged by the historic flooding in February.

You only get a hint of that damage as you're driving down Lincolnway. But when you look from the river, the washout underneath the pavement is visible.

The people who live and work in the neighborhood say this is a hazard that needs to be fixed.

"We moved in here about five years ago and we've lost probably 2 feet of yard that has started down the hill,” said Mark Abram-Copenhaver.

It's a tale of two riverbanks. When Abram-Copenhaver looks out from his back porch, he sees something familiar.

"From here it looks like the road is going to follow the hillside into the river."

“If you look at it from the river, we can understand how it looks,” said Adam Parkhouse, INDOT spokesman. “But it is something that we've been monitoring closely. We determined that it was safe as constructed here with that outside lane being closed."

Lincolnway West was a victim of the flooding, just like Abram-Copenhaver's yard. He's taking action.

"I've researched a bunch of different ways of doing it and this one is done using a technique called a ‘dead man,’ he said. “I'm building the stanchions and these are going to go along the hillside and then it uses the weight of the ground to hold the hillside in."

He says INDOT should be doing the same.

"Build a structure that holds back the earth and supports the road."

But -- just like Abram-Copenhaver had to do a lot of research -- so did INDOT.

"There's a lot of things to consider, there's a whole process that we have to go through,” said Parkhouse. “You know, it does take some time. We have to design a project, we have to go through all our procedures to make sure we're doing it right."

That process is over, and crews will start working on a permanent fix next week.

"We're going to insert a steel wall below the guard rail there and then they're going to insert a flowable fill behind that to kind of shore up the area that's been washed out,” said Parkhouse.

While those crews work, they'll have some company.

"I'd like to keep as much of my backyard as I can,” said Abram-Copenhaver.

The project should take about 2 weeks.

Parkhouse says crews will have to close both westbound lanes.

You'll still be able to travel in both directions though.

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