(Indianapolis, Ind.) - State Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) intends to lessen the negative effects road closures have on Hoosier employers as well as residential access to emergency services with a bill she will introduce this legislative session.
"In my district, constituents have not only lost access to the nearest fire and emergency services due to road construction, but employers have also been forced to close their doors because of customers' inability to reach their stores," Leising said. "Most recently, businesses and the hospital in Rushville have suffered severely during a six-month total closure of State Road 3 through the downtown area."
Leising said, if passed, Senate Bill 48 would require the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to provide advance notice of proposed state highway construction projects that are set to cause closure for at least five consecutive days to the local governmental bodies of the affected areas.
Additionally, Leising's legislation would authorize local governmental bodies to submit written objections to INDOT within 30 days of being notified. INDOT would be required to respond to the opposition at a meeting of the local officeholders.
"It is necessary for INDOT to meet with local officeholders prior to letting bids for a complete state highway closure," Leising said. "Those who are affected most by such construction deserve to have their voices heard."
Currently, INDOT's administrative code requires the agency to publish notice of state highway construction, but allows its own officials to decide whether or not to hold a public hearing when complaints are filed.
Leising introduced similar legislation last session and it did not receive a hearing. She said she hopes other legislators will back the bill this year, as closures continue to be an issue for Hoosier employers and residents alike.
Sen. Leising represents Senate District 42, which is composed of Decatur, Fayette, Rush and Shelby counties and a portion of Franklin County.