INDOT will close I-70 between north, south splits for 3 months to lower road levels

Project will give more clearance to big trucks

INDIANAPOLIS - Drivers who use the interstate system between the north and south splits in downtown Indianapolis were learning Thursday night how much they're going to be inconvenienced by a big new project.

Because of big trucks hitting the bridges in that area, the Indiana Department of Transportation is closing the entire stretch of highway for about three months. 

It's been 10 years since Hyperfix, when INDOT shut down the combined Interstate 65 and Interstate 70 between the north and south splits for 90 days. 

Well, like a bad penny, that nightmare is coming back this fall.

INDOT is shutting down the highway, not to repair the pavement as in 2003, but to lower it.

Too many oversized trucks have been hitting bridges like the Virginia Avenue span and causing severe damage.

So work crews with hurry-up orders will be digging up and lowering the pavement under seven bridges to give those trucks more clearance.

INDOT will detour through traffic around the city on Interstate 465.

People who go to and from work downtown were strategizing a new plan.

“I have no idea,” one driver said. “Get on Google. Find a different way home."

A chauffeur said he would use his GPS to find an alternate route, but he conceded there aren't many of those.

"No, not that I can think of right offhand. But we find a way to get around," he said.

INDOT said it will communicate as much as possible to help drivers avoid the construction.

"We're working to build upon what was successfully applied during Hyperfix,” said spokesman Will Wingfield.  “We're going to be detouring traffic onto I-465 for through traffic on I-65 and I-70. As well, we're going to be educating the public through dynamic message signs, social media, the web, email, a lot of different techniques."

But Bruce Fox, who drives a truck and delivers office furniture, said alternate routes are not that much of a benefit to people who have to get to a specific place at a specific time.

"It's, you know, two miles out of the way. And you drive a big truck like this, it's 10,15 stoplights, a couple, three or four blocks," Fox said.

He said that will eat into his time and money.

INDOT will close the highway sometime in late August. 

Officials hope to re-open it to traffic by the end of November.

Follow Norman Cox on Twitter: @normancox6

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