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'Semis cannot make it through here': Madison County residents fed up with destruction of property

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Posted at 6:18 AM, Jan 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-17 13:16:22-05

PENDLETON— On January 2 a semi drug a boulder nearly half a mile when trying to go down road that isn’t made for big trucks.

Folks living on the Madison County Road tell WRTV this happens a lot and causes property damage.

“They’re sorry, it will never happen again," Shirley Spall said.

Spall lives on County Road 1050 South in Madison County. She said that’s what she hears from drivers and trucking companies almost every month.

“They make that first turn, they think they're making the second turn but when they're pulling a tractor trailer that's 20 or 30 foot long it just moves over and over," Spall said. "As you can see by where they drug the rock which was under the center of their truck had we not come out here and stopped them the mailbox would have been taken down again."

She says semis traveling down this road have cost her and her neighbors time and money.

Driving through CR 1050 South in Madison County

“Replacing the mailbox every month. (It's) $100 for a mailbox,” Spall said, “Nine times out of 10 we do have to have garners come out pick them up put them back on the road. It's just a nuisance plus I've already lost three hours today with the company.”

Spall says the county’s Highway Department has done what they can to stop semis from traveling down the narrow road.

“On your way in you've seen the giant sign that said semis cannot make it through here. They always claim they've never seen it,” Spall said.

The county’s engineer, Jessica Bastin said the sign doesn’t hold any weight when it comes to law enforcement, it just communicates regulations.

Bastin responded to WRTV with the following statement via email:

“I suspect the origin of the problem is related to detours that were in place several years ago, when INDOT replaced a bridge on State Road 9 in the area. This is speculation on my part, but it seems to make sense. I do not know the exact date of that work, but I believe it was around 6-7 years ago. It is my understanding that, when SR 9 was closed for the bridge replacement project, the GPS systems were updated to reroute travelers around the road closure. This is typical for any road closure, especially those that are in place for an extended period of time. Typically, when the roads reopen, the GPS systems are updated, and routing returns to normal. We have not been able to confirm this, but we suspect that for some reason, this process did not occur correctly with the GPS system that many trucking companies use. There have been several attempts over the years to get this resolved (by both residents in the area and the County), with mixed results. Unfortunately, it seems as though some of the truck drivers rely solely on their GPS systems, without actually looking at the route. The “S” curves on County Road 1050 S are clearly not appropriate for semi traffic, which should be evident if one looks at the route. We have installed signs to warn travelers of the curves, but we still have truck drivers who disregard the warnings.”
Jessica Bastin

In the meantime, Spall continues to call the trucking companies and hope more damage.

“At one time, they used to just plain cut through the field and take out the farmers corn which is someone's livelihood and I’m surprised they haven't tried to do that again knock on wood when I say that,” Spall said.

"I know the residents have been frustrated with this situation for some time, and I am truly sorry they are experiencing this," Bastin said. "I have appreciated their communication and feedback throughout this situation. The initiative they continue to take in helping to resolve the issues and their tenacity in communicating with the trucking companies has been extremely helpful and impactful. I hope they know that we are committed to continue working with them to resolve the issues.

Bastin said last fall they updated the ordinance so that law enforcement could ticket drivers who are going down this road.

According to the Madison County Sheriff's Office, they hadn’t seen the new ordinance until we reached out.

However, they still say its unenforceable as written and are working with the county engineer to update the ordinance so they can enforce it in the future.

Read the full ordinance below: