Mining closes county road near Portersville


A section of County Road 750 West that is southwest of Portersville is being used for mining and is closed. Area intersections also being used for mining are covered with dirt, to residents’ dismay.

“It’s forcing residents to have to drive through the mud,” County Highway Supervisor Steve Berg told the Dubois County Commissioners Monday.

Because of these ongoing problems, Berg said he can’t see the county allowing Solar Sources to expand its mining operations in the future.

County Road 750 West near the mining area is closed because of damage. A hole has formed on the side of the road, which has made the road too unstable to use, Berg said. The hole comes from the mine’s heavy trucks and equipment using the road, he said.

At the same time, mud and debris is being tracked through intersections with county roads 580 North and 450 North, which residents use to get to and from their homes. Berg also showed the commissioners photos of dirt covering the areas.

The deal was that the company was going to keep the road free of the dirt and debris; but that is not happening, Berg explained. “They are supposed to be getting the mud off the tires so that they aren’t dragging it across the public roadway,” he said. The crossings need to be washed at least once a day to keep them free of mud and debris, he added.

He has met with representatives of Solar Sources to discuss the problems.

“I assumed that because of the impact on 750, this would be at the top of their attention,” Berg said. “But it’s not. It seems that they get involved when I get a call and then I call them.”

And Berg does get calls from upset and concerned residents, he told the commissioners. Residents use County Road 580 North to go to church.

Solar Sources has told Berg that it is waiting on some state and federal permits to mine the other side of the road. But he thinks the hole in the road needs to be addressed now.

“It’s definitely a safety issue,” he said.

To get County Road 750 West reopened, the hole needs to be filled in and shored up, County Engineer Brent Wendholt said.

So far, there is nothing indicating that the base is being affected; there are no cracks in the pavement that would allude to that, Berg said.

The commissioners agreed that they want the road open as soon as possible, and are planning to give Solar Sources notice and a deadline to get the hole repaired and County Road 750 West reopened.

“The road is closed. And that was never part of the agreement,” Commissioner Elmer Brames said.

Berg can’t see the county allowing the company to expand its road usage in the future. Plans had been mentioned before that the company would want to expand to using Portersville Road West in the future.

Berg said it would create two additional crossings for the company to maintain, and he said they can’t maintain the ones they use now.

The commissioners also:

• Set minimum bids for the commissioners sale of multiple properties, including properties that encompassed the former Koerner Commercial Block building site in Birdseye and lots near Lake Helmerich. The minimum bid for properties will be $35. The minimum bid for the three lots that encompass the Koerner site, which must be sold together, will be $100. The sale will start at 10 a.m. April 30 in the third floor courtroom at the Dubois County Courthouse, 1 Courthouse Square, Jasper.

• Gave approval for the Strassenfest Committee to use courthouse property for the annual Strassenfest, which will be held July 30 to Aug. 2.

• Modified an environmental health food specialist position at the health department. The full-time position will now be for a food specialist/public health nurse.

• Heard that plans are being made for expanding the Ferdinand recycling site.

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