(Lakeville, IN) - An area road construction crew went back in time recently while doing repairs to an old highway. Some excavation work to replace pipes under old U.S. 31 north of Lakeville recently turned up pieces of the original highway dating back about two hundred years.
Cassandra Bajek is this area’s public relations director for the Indiana Department of Transportation. She said remnants of an old plank road were found earlier this week well beneath the modern roadway. “We’re doing a few pipe replacements, so for that they have to dig pretty deep into the ground,” she said. “About four or five feet in, they found an old wooden road, also called a corduroy road, so it’s probably the original roadway placed there.”
Corduroy roads were timber trackways made of logs, often from trees cut down to clear the roadway’s path. They were frequently used in low swampy areas.
According to Bajek, a good number of the old log planks were carefully extracted. “We were able to pull up probably a couple dozen planks that were in pretty decent condition,” she said. “They’re not particularly wide or long but basically enough for a horse-drawn carriage to go over them.”
Bajek said other similar artifacts have been found in the area, but these were better preserved than most. Some of the pieces are being offered to the library and the elementary school in Lakeville for display.
The pipe replacement project near Lakeville will be going on all summer. Who knows? Perhaps more interesting discoveries await.