Giant ice slabs cause problems in Bluffton

Ice jam in bluffton
Photo of an ice jam in Bluffton on February 26, 2014.

BLUFFTON, Ind. (WANE) – It looks like a winter wonderland from a fairy tale. Glistening ice covers part of East River Road in Bluffton and other parts are lined with giant ice slabs shooting into the air.

“It’s pretty much a mile and a half of glacier in Bluffton,” Ted Ellis, Bluffton’s mayor, said.


For the last few days, city street department crews have been trying to break up thick ice slabs on the road where they can.

“At this point we’re just trying to get the path cleared and get streets dried off so everyone can move,” Ellis said. “There will be a cost and I think we’re equipped to handle that in Bluffton. Still, that’s money we could have spent on something else.”

Dennis Deininger is the maintenance supervisor for Bluffton’s parks department. He came down to River Road Wednesday afternoon to assess the damage to the Rivergreenway.

“It’s amazing. I can’t believe the destruction. Everything’s gone. It’s unreal,” he said.

The ice destroyed several guardrails along the river leaving splintered logs sticking up around the ice chunks.

“There’s nothing we can do. We just have to wait until it melts. There’s a lot of work to do. A lot of construction and a lot of rebuilding,” Deininger said.

Ellis and Deininger have both lived in Bluffton all their lives. While the Wabash River floods along River Road a few times every year, they both have never seen ice like this.

“Nothing of this magnitude. It’s never even come close to doing this,” Deininger said. “It blows my mind that a tree is gone and there’s supposed to be a bench here.”

He estimated each guardrail could be around $500 to replace.

“If you overlook all the problems it creates, it’s a beautiful site,” Ellis said.

Some trees have triple rings on them where the water froze, receded, froze again and went down again, leaving behind frozen markings. In the stillness of the winter woods, frequent crashes can now be heard as ice gives way to gravity.

“People take cruise ships to see the glaciers. Maybe they’d like a little paddle boat down the Wabash to come see us and it’d be a lot cheaper too,” Ellis joked. 

People have already been stopping by to snap a few photos before the unbelievable ice melts away. 






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