Commissioners hear Dam 2 Dam concerns

By David Fenker

WABASH – After another successful Dam 2 Dam Century Ride, Visit Wabash County officials are looking for ways to improve the annual cycling event from a safety standpoint.

Christine Flohr, Visit Wabash County executive director of tourism, and three D2D committee members attended the Sept. 17 meeting of the county commissioners to request the county's assistance in creating a safer ride in future years.
The committee's presentation to the commissioners focused on the county's chip-and-seal road repairs, which they said create hazards for cyclists during the D2D.

“We want to make sure we're taking care of [the cyclists] from a community standpoint,” committee member Greg Garner said, “providing the best atmosphere, the best physical environment with regard to safety, as we can for the bikers.”
Adam Stakeman, another committee member, emphasized the size of the event (565 signed up this year), and that the route is set.

“What we want to do is find out how we can better work with the county so that that scheduling can … work easier with the Dam 2 Dam route and the event, which is a set date,” Stakeman said.

He explained the hazards of chip and seal for cyclists.

“Chip and seal, once it's down for a little while, is fine,” he said, “but when it's fairly fresh – visually, being able to see it, whether it's attached or, sometimes, where it could be an inch thick … if you hit that on a bike tire that's a half-inch thick, the chances of you going down are very, very high.

“If you go down, that chip and seal is like a human cheese grater. It's going to hurt.”

In addition to the danger to cyclists, committee member Amy Ford noted that D2D volunteers spend several hours marking the route on the pavement – work that can be undone if county crews chip and seal over the markers.

“It sounds like it's a communication thing between [County Highway Superintendent John Martin] and your committee about when the schedule is, what we're doing and whatever touches that path,” Chairman Brian Haupert said. “It's good to know that.”

Martin said that his chip and seal schedule is usually set in June each year.

Ford noted that the D2D route is typically finalized in May, excluding detours needed due to road conditions.

“I'm in favor of working with you as far the route goes,” Commissioner Scott Givens said. “If John can adjust the chip and seal … if it becomes where we need to back off a week or something, that shouldn't be a problem.”

Posted on 2018 Sep 18