Terre Haute pothole gains traction, who is responsible to maintain?

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VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A troublesome pothole in Terre Haute located in a very public area is generating lots of traction.

It’s along the main exit in front of Walmart south, Aldi south and Kohl’s at U.S. 41.

Sadie All  has been looking into who is  responsible for repairing the pothole. She talked with the Terre Haute mayor, a county commissioner, city council president, law enforcement, the county assessor and the county highway department. All say,  it’s not the responsibility of the city or the county.

Sadie learned this road was privately owned, but the owner passed away a year ago and the estate is still open.

An attorney for the estate says he’s been looking into who should repair the drive.

Since we started following this story, someone filled the hole with gravel. The attorney for the estate says he does not know who did the work, but some minor repairs were also done by family of the previous owned.

When the pothole on 56th drive is filled with water, drivers don’t see it, but they definitely feel it.

The road is a heavily traveled exit roadway from many south side Terre Haute shopping areas to U.S. 41.

“We were in Walmart and we come out and there was water over the hole back behind me and dropped the truck down far enough into the hole that we had to put it in four-wheel drive and two guys had to push us to get it out,” driver Anita Eytchinson said.

Eytchinson lives in Sullivan, but often comes to Terre Haute. She says she hadn’t noticed the pothole before.

“When my daughter got out of the truck to lock the hubs … She had on work boots and it come up over the tops of her work boots and just soaked her.”

Anita didn’t file a police report because there was no damage done to her truck.

With a quick measurement, water comes up over the 8 inch mark. Considering the fall from the roadway, we determined at least one spot in the hole was about a foot deep and five feet wide.

The attorney for the estate says the previous owner passed away a year ago, but owned several parcels of land in the area before there were major establishments like Walmart and Kohls.
He tells us the property is likely to go in trust.

We reached out to Walmart’s local and corporate office over the course of a couple of weeks and received this statement.

Walmart does not have jurisdiction over the maintenance of the pothole located on private property near our Terre Haute store.”

Walmart corporate office

County highway engineer Larry Robbins says his office has received complaints, but legally the county can’t take responsibility.

“It’s something that the county really doesn’t have any responsibility in at this point and probably would not accept it even if it was petitioned, just to the fact that it only serves that commercial development, it doesn’t serve any other public need,” Robbins said.

Robbins says he doesn’t think the roadway should have been left to an individual once major businesses started going up in the area.

“In theory, what needs to happen is there needs to be some kind of maintenance agreement drawn up with all the commercial properties that it serves and then they’d be responsible for maintenance in the future.”

Sadie also reached out to Kohl’s locally and their corporate office along with Aldi’s corporate office and has not heard back.

She spoke with Fifth-Third Bank in the area and still has not heard back from them either

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