Updated: Wednesday, 25 Jul 2012, 8:11 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 25 Jul 2012, 8:11 PM EDT
WASHINGTON, IND. (WTHI) - One of the worst droughts ever to hit Indiana has certainly taken its toll on lawns, trees, and crops.
It has also turned out to be a boon to major construction projects like I-69 in southern Indiana.
While the weather has produced few rainouts for crews it could still put the brakes on an important part of the work.
I-69 is taking shape on the east side of Washington.
The highway construction project is making progress and officials say the drought has crews on target to complete work from Evansville to Crane by the end of the year.
"We're moving ahead well with the construction," said Sam Sarvis with the Indiana Department of Transportation. "The dry weather has certainly been challenging for the farmers but has been real positive for the road builders."
Because of the drought construction crews have missed very few days of work on the project, but at the same time that lack of moisture may turn into an issue.
"Those that are paving with concrete, they do have a high water use and they have to be cautious and partner with their local communities in terms of where they draw that water and what effects it has," said Sarvis.
The concrete contractor on this leg between Washington and Petersburg is getting its water from the city of Washington.
Officials say their well field is handling the demand.
"We have been very fortunate in the city," said Mayor Joe Wellman. "Our water aquifer has held up very well and while it is down some from where we'd like to see it we still have water."
This community already has a voluntary water conservation program in place that resulted in a 10 percent reduction in water usage last month.
Officials though are keeping a close eye on the wells.
If the situation gets worse, mandatory water measures could be put in place.
"If we had to we would and then we'd have a discussion with INDOT on the I-69 project," said Wellman.
Something that could either slow or even stop the progress on highway.
Washington is just one of several communities supplying water for the concrete contractors.
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