The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) recently did a major turnaround regarding the condition and treatment of US 52 from Rushville southeast to Andersonville.
Many readers are aware that this writer had taken INDOT severely to task for the highway’s truly deplorable condition.
During the summer, the road surface had been milled off preparatory to giving it the dreaded chip ‘n’ seal treatment. In fact, the road remained in that unacceptable milled off condition and it appeared that INDOT planned no further work on the road.
This writer investigated to determine what entity was responsible for the incomplete road repair job and complained rather strongly to that department.
This writer also wrote two separate Letters to the Editor on the subject which appeared in both the Greensburg Daily News and Rushville Republican.
According to a newspaper source, the folks at INDOT were aware of and had read all of these communications, both public and private.
The response to this one-man crusade was rather astounding. The initial response was that INDOT recognized the unacceptability of US 52 as it had existed all summer and into the Fall and that they “recognize the issues and plan to be on site Monday, Sept. 24, to begin rectifying the situation.”
Monday, Sept. 24, came and went with no action. In fact, nothing happened for the next month, until the amazing and wonderful announcement came via a story in the Rushville Republican that they had scrapped the idea of using the nasty chip ‘n’ seal topcoating and were going to do a genuine repaving job on this slice of highway.
I write this not with any intention of braggadocio or implied self-importance; rather, I write to make the case that determined citizen input can have an effect on government bureaucracies, particularly when combined with the power of the press.
While my direct communications with INDOT may have played a role in getting a splendid new strip of highway, the letters published in the Rushville Republican and the Greensburg Daily News were a powerful tool in the accomplishment and I laud the newspapers for their role in the matter.
This is a wonderful example of the fact that even though the role of the printed newspaper may be on the wane, it is still a very important part of community life.
To the many folks who have approached me with kind words regarding the “new 52” project, I offer my sincere thanks. I must note, however, that there is no truth to the rumor that the stretch of highway will be renamed “Norm Voiles Boulevard.” Just kiddin’.
Norm Voiles, citizen of the United States of America
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