ELIZABETH, Ind. (WAVE) – A busy highway connecting people to Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino is dealing with issues once again.
Last year, the Indiana Department of Transportation spent $5 million repairing embankment slides along Highway 111 in Floyd and Harrison counties, mainly caused by heavy flooding. Now, they’re preparing to tackle a new round of repairs in the same area.
“We want to keep people safe out there,” said Natalie Garrett, a spokesperson for the Indiana Department of Transportation.
Wednesday’s heavy rains didn’t deter drivers on Highway 111 from reaching Horseshoe Casino in Harrison County. But the road here more than the rain may cause concern for drivers.
A new embankment slide on the highway near the casino will need repairs to make sure the banks nearby and underneath the road don’t pull away.
“We’re doing the soil nail wall to further stabilize that area,” Garrett said.
Embankment slides plagued this same area of 111 in 2018, parts of the roadway sank and chunks of shoulder fell away after heavy flooding on the Ohio River saturated the soil.
Added weight on roadways from construction equipment traveling to the casino nearby combined with flooding and heavy rains have brought embankment slides back to Highway 111, Garrett said.
The $500,000 in slide repairs will take three weeks to complete, beginning on Monday. But it’s not a permanent fix for the problem. In the fall of 2020, crews will move part of Highway 111 farther inland and away from the Ohio.
“So it will be about a year of construction, but it will help us avoid the ongoing issues we’ve had here in the area,” Garrett said.
Avoid, but not erase entirely.
“The flooding issues, obviously, it depends on how far the river comes up,” Garrett said. “But, should help with erosion in the area, which has been an issue all around the state.”
That work won’t be finished until Thanksgiving of 2021. With 7,600 cars driving that stretch of Highway 111 each day, INDOT said Highway 111 is considered safe to drive on.
“We’ve just seen some deterioration near the shoulder of the road, so it’s not necessarily in the middle of the roadway,” Garrett said. “But we just want to get ahead of it as much as we can to avoid any safety hazards on the roadway. We want to keep people safe out there. People can safely reach the casino.”
Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino is on Highway 111 in Harrison County, very close to the site of those repairs.
Lizzet Verdi, a spokesperson for the casino, sent over a statement, saying “As road work continues on HWY 111, there is still two-way traffic and we are operational and performing business as usual. We are in regular contact with INDOT in regards to the work that is in progress, and we appreciate their constant attention to this matter.”