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Bear Run Mine to be 'good neighbor' to resident dealing with damaged road crossing

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Larry Hardesty was seeking relief from bad roads near Bear Run Mine, taking his complaints to the Sullivan County Commissioners last week.

Hardesty, who lives in the 6000 block of East CR 750S about one mile west of Pleasantville, claims a crossing near his home “has been terrible ever since day one” due to mining activity.

Peabody Coal representative Jim McKean just happened to be at the meeting earlier, dealing with road closures for the mine, but had already left.

When this topic fell directly in his bailiwick, commissioner Ray McCammon quickly called him and asked him if he could return to the meeting, to which he agreed.

Upon his arrival, Hardesty complained of large amounts off mud falling off mine trucks.

“Cars go down the road at night, looks like fog between the headlights and taillights … the dust is terrible,” he said. “Our car sits up a little bit (off the ground) and my wife went across that crossing in the morning to drop off grandkids at Pleasantville before they go to school in Dugger.” 

He asked his wife how the crossing was, who replied the bottom of the car was dragging from the ruts.

“I have been hung up in the middle of that road,” Hardesty said. “The sand and rock piles near there isn’t enough to fix the problem. It’s a safety hazard. We’ve put up with this since the mine came there, thinking maybe something will be done different, some solutions. 

“I just wish we didn’t live there, I do,” he admitted. “We got that property from the mine.”

Hardesty, who said he will be 71 next month, remembered when Hawthorne Mine was built and that crossing was in good condition.

“Ever since Bear Run Mine’s been there, that crossing has been terrible,” he claimed. “Your car just looks like it’s gone across a field.”

McKean apologized that he didn’t have a better response from the mine in the past.

“You have my card and can discuss it with me anytime … I’ll make the mine do what we need to do,” McKean said. “If you have approached the mine and they didn’t rectify the situation, then I need to take care of that.”

McKean did say due to the current cold, then rainy weather, for now he is limited to regular attention being paid to the crossing. 

“The sand and the rock are there for that particular purpose,” McKean said. “I apologize that it is dusty or muddy. I can’t change the roadway, but I can address our effects on that crossing.” 

“Mine management has to know that road’s like that,” Hardesty said.

“Mine management has changed, sir,” McKean replied.

“They have to know that road is in that shape,” Hardesty said. “They have to know they are not doing their job.”

McCammon mentioned a similar concern had been addressed recently with CR 650S also “being bad.”

“We called (the mine) to that,” McKean said.

Turning his attention back to Hardesty, McKean stated, “When you’re out there, you shouldn’t have an issue because we should be on top of that already. If you get there and think it needs addressed, hit me up and I will get on the mine. 

“We’re here to be good neighbors just like anybody else.”

Hardesty noted says many times they can’t drive east to Linton due to the conditions, instead having to drive west to U.S. 41, up to the former Kat-A-Korner, then back east “if you want to keep your car halfway decent.”

McKean asked Hardesty when was good day for him to meet later in the week.

“I’m retired, so any day,” Hardesty answered.

McCammon then apologized to McKean for calling him back to the meeting, but McKean joked, “I was just a short way down U.S. 41, going 59 1/2 miles per hour.”


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