I-Team 8

GPS reroutes Martinsville detour onto county road not designed for heavy traffic

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — In one of the detours around construction on State Road 37, northbound traffic is detoured through the south part of Martinsville and over to State Road 67.

Traffic is so heavy that it’s almost impossible to cross the road, and some drivers have found a way the detour.

Jordan Road is a typical Indiana county road. Except for the traffic, “it has been ridiculous,” said local resident Diane Davis. “Semis come flying down through here.”

Davis lives right off of Jordan Road. She says since the construction on State Road 37 in recent weeks, her drive to work is a challenge. She says the trucks are too wide for the road in Morgan County, which is directly southwest of Indianapolis.

The wide trucks and not-so-wide road, David said, “That is what’s all those ruts are from. They come down here. There is not enough room for all of them and so they have no choice but for their right sides to come through our yards.”

Davis says the county road is not built to handle semi traffic and high speeds. She says she’s called the sheriff and the Indiana Department of Transportation but nothing seems to help.

County officials did install a weight limit sign to warn semitruck drivers to steer clear.

Bill Morrison has lived on Jordan Road about four years. He bought his place to get away from the traffic, but the traffic found him. 

“It’s pretty rough. It gets pretty rough, you know; big trucks, you know. This isn’t no highway really,” Morrison said. 

Morrison takes his time pulling out of his driveway nowadays. He says drivers are going way too fast for the county road. “They think this is 500-mile track and they come down through here making all kinds of noise, you know.”

Down the road from Morrison’s home, Jamie Sullivan almost had a semitruck right in her front yard. She got a few pictures while the truck was turning around. She said the driver tried to avoid the construction traffic in Martinsville and was following GPS traffic instructions.  

Davis says she has tolerated drivers cutting through her neighborhood long enough.

“If 37 got backed up, if there was an accident or something, everybody would cut through our neighborhood. I think they know that and I think they are avoiding the detour,” Davis said.

GPS has helped guide even more motorists around the detour, which takes northbound drivers from State Road 37 to State Road 39, then to State Road 67, and finally north to Indianapolis. 

However, GPS systems are taking some drivers, depending on traffic, on the path of least resistance, which is along the county road.