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State Road 18 construction delay impacts on local brewery

Construction on S.R. 18 will most likely go past the expected completion date of October. A Brookston brewery is trying to stay optimistic about the situation.

Posted: Aug 14, 2019 4:48 PM
Updated: Aug 14, 2019 6:17 PM

BROOKSTON, Ind. (WLFI) - People in White and Carroll counties are wondering what's going on with construction on State Road 18.

INDOT closed down S.R. 18 in May for a resurfacing project. But for several weeks now, the road has been quiet. No equipment, no construction workers, just cars driving around the "road closed" barricades.

Tom and Michele Bulington own Crasian Brewing Company in Brookston. They are no strangers to road construction.

"We started in 2017 and during that whole summer all downtown Brookston was closed, repairing all the streets, all new sidewalks," said Tom.

He said it's hard to really gauge the impacts on business, but S.R. 18 is the main connection between Brookston and Delphi. He said they have accounts with several restaurants in Carroll County.

"It adds about 20 minutes by the time you wind around and all that," he said. "It doesn't sound like a huge time commitment but when you're busy throughout the day and you may be doing it a couple times a week it does add up."

They hear the frustration from their customers.

"We hear it in our tasting room, things like 'wow it was really hard to get here, we didn't know 18 was closed," he said.

Adam Parkhouse from INDOT Northwest said unforeseen issues with the road's sub-grade caused them to redesign significant portions of the road. He said they have had to stop working on the road for several weeks now. What was supposed to finish in October, now will most likely be pushed back. Parkhouse said they are still trying to work on the timeline for the project, and couldn't give an exact time for when it will be finished.

Road closures became such a staple, the Bulingtons made a beer inspired by it called "Road Closed." They said it's been their number one seller for the past four weeks.

"My wife designed the recipe for it and it's an American pale ale," said Tom. "She said 'well what reminds you of Indiana in the summer time?' I go 'well, in Brookston, road closed would be it.'"

They get quite a bit of unexpected customers coming from the direction of Delphi.

"People come across the railroad tracks here and look to their right and see a brewery sign," he said. "They didn't even know we were here."

He understands that roads need to be fixed.

"We live in a cold northern part of Indiana and these roads have to be repaired," he said.

The Bulingtons look forward to seeing their business grow even more once S.R. 18 is back open.

INDOT said people should not be driving on the road, as it is officially closed. They expect work to resume on S.R. 18 within the next week or so.

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