Gov. Mike Pence has had enough of Indiana’s pothole problem. Citing a need to keep Indiana’s infrastructure and economy intact, Pence unveiled his proposal Thursday to combat the crumbling roads.
“We are initiating a plan to lean into this fight with a strategic blitz that will involve alternating 12-hour shifts, supplemental crews and additional hours,” Pence said.
Indiana Department of Transportation crews have been busy clearing roadways of ice and snow, but now they are being shifted around the state to deal with the aftermath. INDOT Deputy Commissioner of Operations Ryan Gallagher said he and Pence are willing to do whatever it takes to fix Hoosier roads.
“If we have lighting packages we need to move around our districts, we will do that,” Gallagher said. “If we need to rent equipment in order to work and get those areas that are identified for us, we will move those resources to get to those targeted areas.”
However, Pence reiterated that these measures will have a minimal fiscal impact and pothole repairs will be well within the state’s budget.
“We believe our budgets in the Indiana Department of Transportation will allow for us to do this within existing appropriations and we don’t anticipate any make-back, supplemental appropriation at any time in the future,” Pence said. “This is about moving resources forward in the year, and I think it is extremely important that we do it.”
Pence and Gallagher both said potholes have been more prevalent than any other time in recent memory. The continuous freeze-thaw cycle caused by this winter's storms and bitterly cold temperatures has taken its toll on Indiana roadways, leaving the large cracks and divots. While normal asphalt is unable to be used for paving in cold temperatures, the state has employed “cold mix” asphalt and other measures to temporarily smooth out roadways.
While the plan was announced Thursday, Pence said he wanted to make it clear that these measures have already been taken by numerous crews across the state. The long hours and the added strain on resources are two necessary consequences of what Pence deems a worthy effort for Indiana’s future.
“We have the best location in America, but that all depends on us having the infrastructure that can support maximizing the potential of that location,” Pence said. “This is about ensuring that our roadways are passable, but it’s also about ensuring that our economy can continue to grow and to thrive.”