DePauw is a historically liberal arts school, vibrant with education and diversity as well as teachers who go above and beyond to connect with their students, allowing them all the opportunities to achieve academic excellence.

The accessibility to this institution has been affected by continuous construction on many streets around campus and Putnam County, from the cross streets of East Walnut to Locust Street. According to a post by the City of Greencastle, the construction was initially primarily for Locust Street and would require street closures on Locust Street between Washington Street and East Walnut Street starting on or after Monday, June 5. 

“The road will be closed to allow for the installation of a storm sewer main and other road reconstruction work. Access to the parking lot in front of City Hall will also be restricted starting June 5 to allow for work on the adjacent street and driveway apron. Citizens are asked to avoid the area and use alternate routes such as Spring Street, College, Avenue, or Vine Street as an alternate to Locust Street,” the post said.

It was assumed that the construction would be done before the school year started; however, just a week ago, according to the Putnam County Post, “paving crews are scheduled Wednesday through Friday for the Locust Street reconstruction project. The completion date is in about two weeks, Friday, September 15.”

This statement from the City of Greencastle is confusing and frustrating for DePauw students and Putnam County residents. I spoke with an anonymous construction worker currently working on the road and with Jared, who asked his last name to be left anonymous, a U.S. Foods Delivery Driver, respectively, on their opinions on the continuing construction of the road. 

This construction worker works for both McCurdy Construction and Cryder Construction. The construction worker spoke truthfully when I asked him about people’s frustrations, talking about his own and the real culprit behind the constant delays. 

“You can blame the state of Indiana. We were waiting for two months for them to decide what to do with the road, and it’s unfortunately out of our control. We only do what we can and what’s applicable from our side. Believe me, we’re upset too. We just want to do our jobs,” he explained.

I also spoke with Jared, a U.S. Foods Delivery Driver who, similarly to the construction worker, was outright and understandably upset because of the construction and closing of streets affecting  his work.

“It’s horrible, especially being in a trailer that's 36 feet but add another 15-foot trailer for the truck, and it’s hard maneuvering. It’s hard to work because of all the construction trying to find a way around it, and it hurts your time because you have to get here on time.”

When asked about how the construction would affect his ability to deliver orders on time, he responded with how the closing of streets causes drivers not to utilize their hours.

“. . . Drivers were only allotted 14 hours a day from DOT (Department of Transportation). Now we are able to utilize a 16-hour day, but that’s only if you’ve been working a year at your warehouse for seven days straight. Now, if you happen to go overnight somewhere else, then you’re not able to utilize that 16-hour extension. So, it really puts a hindrance on our capabilities of getting jobs done and things delivered.”

I also spoke with sophomore DePauw student Danny Villa who gave his honest opinion sharing a positive light on the construction and the good it can give, but also the negativity that the closed streets also have. 

“I think it’s great that they’re fixing our infrastructure here in Greencastle. At the same time during the semester, it’s also inconvenient since I do drive mostly daily, but I don’t understand what they’re going through too. From a civilian standpoint, I don’t walk there either because it’s pretty congested.”

It appears that, as a whole, the delayed construction and closed streets have caused frustration and inconvenience for many in Greencastle and Putnam County.