Make your home page

Drivers’ U-turns at closed road lead to smashed sewer line, messed-up yard

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Hundreds of drivers are ignoring “road closed” signs on South Emerson Avenue just north of Raymond Street, one homeowner says.

Every single car and truck is forced to turn around. A few, including a semitractor-trailer, have gotten stuck and caused in thousands of dollars in damage.

Alan Vorhies and he has reached his limit. “Oh, we have all sorts of plumbing problems, and this old man likes to push-mow this yard, and it’s kind of of hard to do with all the truck ruts.”

He added, “There have been two semis. We have pictures of in our yard.”

One photo showed the latest truck drivers’ attempt to make a U-turn.

Vorhies’ wife came home to find the semi stuck in his yard. He says the driver almost took out the mailbox and left tire marks in the yard.

He said his wife said that “they just kept rockin’ it and destroying the yard until they got loose.”

Vorhies said once the driver freed his truck from the yard and left the trash can that he’d ran over. The driver offered the one-finger salute to the neighborhood.

The damage to the Vorheises’ yard is obvious. What you can’t see is the expensive part: The sewer line to his house runs under the driveway, and, Vorhies believes, the weight from the trucks collapsed the line.

“The plumbing, the estimate I have had, is $20,000 for the repair, for it to be dug up and fixed correctly,” Vorhies said. 

He says his homeowner’s insurance will not cover the damage, and the city says it has posted plenty of “road closed” signs and the detour is well-marked. The city says it is not responsible for the damage.

While News 8 was talking with Vorhies, almost a dozen drivers ignored the signs and were forced to make a U-turn in front of his house.

The Indianapolis Department of Public Works closed the road for a bridge repair project. A project supervisor came to talk to Vorhies while News 8 was there. The supervisor says he is not authorized to talk on camera. He works for a private contractor.

The supervisor told Vorhies they would fix the potholes along the shoulder in front of his house and make sure Public Works’ signs were in the right place.  

“Anything at all I would appreciate,” Vorhies told the supervisor.

There is little more the contractor can provide. The damage was done by drivers who ignored the signs. The bottom line Vorhies is stuck with a $20,000 repair bill and an endless string of traffic in his driveway.