There are maybe 30 residents who live on Wicker Road on the south side of Indianapolis. The road is narrow and dead-ends into a gravel quarry and dirt company lot. For many years, people who live here say it’s been a nice, quiet, and peaceful area to live. A little slice of rural Indiana tucked into city limits.
But over the past few years, that’s all changed.
“This was a very quiet little peaceful area. Little one-lane country road, and it’s turned into a nightmare,” said Kaye Parman who has lived on Wicker Road for more than two decades.
“We enjoy sitting on the front porch. It’s just kind of like what we do,” said Russ Cunningham, one of Parman’s longtime neighbors.
Parman and several other residents reached out to WRTV after they were at a loss with what to do about problems with the road.
A few years ago a new company popped up at the end of the Wicker Road called Riverside Aggregates and Materials. The owner, Matt Thompson, says the business is a quarry and they mine sand and gravel.
Since the company moved in, the truck traffic has increased on the fairly narrow Wicker Road.
Cunningham and his neighbors believe that there are hundreds of heavy trucks flying down the road every day, “We’ve seen up to 2 hundred trucks come in. That means 2 hundred trucks have to come out. That’s 4 hundred trucks in one day. It’s quite overwhelming,” he said.
Thompson says that number is exaggerated, “It could be 10 a day it could be 25 a day it all depends on how busy we are. It’s not in the hundreds a day… I wish it was, it’s not,” said Thompson.
What is certain is that since the business has moved in the truck traffic on Wicker road has increased and it’s causing issues for people who live in the area.
“They’re big tri-axles, they are fully loaded and it’s a problem. We can’t get in and we can’t get out of our property,” said Parman.
One of the main issues is that the road is so narrow. If two trucks are coming from either direction on the road, one will have to pull off into someone’s yard to let the other pass.
Parman’s mailbox was taken out by one of the trucks and her grass is wearing away where the drivers have pulled over.
“It’s not fair. We live down here. This is our home. We’ve had to deal with this now for going on 3 years,” said Parman.
Since the traffic has increased on the road, neighbors also say there are a lot more potholes and big ones.
There is also a small bridge that leads into the area that people who live here feel is taking a beating due to all the traffic. They are concerned it will soon collapse.
“The bridge is sinking, it’s sagging,” said Laura Radar, who visits her parents who live on Wicker very often, “You can see that it’s dipping and it’s sagging. It’s in terrible repair and it’s at the point of collapse and it’s at the point of causing some major issues.”
The bridge is the only way in and out of the area for people who live here, so residents are worried if it does fail… what will they do?
“What we’re concerned about is if it does fail and it will eventually fail… how fast can they fix it? There are about 30 of us that live down here and if we have emergency services or what have ya how long is it going to take to get it fixed so they can come through? That I wouldn’t even know,” said Cunningham.
While people who live on Wicker road are upset about the truck traffic, they are not taking it up with Thompson who owns Riverside Aggregates. They feel he is not to blame for the issues.
“We’ve got all the permits from the city of Indianapolis to operate our business here,” said Thompson, “We love the neighbors around here we do everything we can to help them. We’ve tried to work with the city to get these holes filled and they just won’t do it. So we’ve actually just brought in asphalt ourselves just to be a good neighbor.”
This is why residents feel the city needs to step in and provide the proper road maintenance and infrastructure to support this type of business.
“It’s just not safe,” said Parman.
Parman, Cunningham, and Radar all contacted the Mayor’s Action Center about some of the issues and they tell WRTV they did not get much response.
After WRTV reached out to the city to inquire about the requests, a crew was sent out to Wicker Road to trim up some of the brush and trees that were hanging over the roadway to make it easier for drivers to pull off to the side when trucks are passing.
A city spokesperson also shared with WRTV that a Department of Public Works crew filled potholes on Wicker Road near the intersection of Lake Road on May 22nd. DPW is planning to send another crew out to Wicker Road soon. The team that was dispatched to the area is aware that the area still warrants attention.
A bridge engineer with the city’s Engineering division was also recently sent to the area to inspect the bridge. That engineer reported that the structure is perfectly sound, though there is a minor issue with the wingwall.
However, residents still want more steps to be taken. Cunningham feels that city staff don’t quite understand the extent of the problems. He would like to see someone with the city spend a whole day on Wicker Road, observe just how much traffic is wearing on the street, and then determine what kind of action needs to be taken.
“What I would like, it would be just nice if somebody would come down and just look at the road, and look at the traffic on the road and… say you know, is this right? Is this something that should be happening? I would suspect they would say no. And then they would have to say ok we need to widen the road; we need to fix the bridge, and we need to cut the brush back. We need to make it at least so two people can pass and that just seems reasonable to me,” said Cunningham.