INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A much-anticipated, $10.1 million road project kicks off Friday night, closing down one major section of an Indianapolis interstate.
The Indiana Department of Transportation awarded contractor Reith-Riley to undertake this project.
Beginning on Friday night at 9 p.m., the eastbound lanes of I-465 between the I-70 interchange all the way to the I-65 interchange on the south side will shut down.
So what type of work is being done to need this closure?
“Some asphalt and concrete patching. They will also be doing some bridge work, so they will be working on some of the terminal joints and that’s the transition from the bridge and the interstate, the bridge approaches. And then, a lot of the work will be done underneath the pavement. A lot of the work you won’t be able to see with the naked eye, but that actually helps preserve the pavement,” said the Indiana Department of Transportation’s LaMar Holliday.
He continued, “The work that they’re doing under the pavement is very crucial to extend the life of the pavement. Especially with winter coming, we don’t want to have a repeat of what happened this past winter, with a lot of potholes, and cracks within the pavement."
The official detour route for this closure is taking eastbound I-70 through downtown to southbound I-65 to return to I-465, which takes roughly 21 minutes, not during rush hour. Typical travel time on I-465 in the closed section is 9 minutes, meaning that detour is over doubling your travel time.
So you're going to want to leave a bit earlier than normal.
Holliday said there are other options.
"If you're coming from the south, you'll be able to take 67, 37, and then I-65. We know that U.S. 31 is an option, but we are discouraging that, only because there is an asphalt resurfacing project that is taking place on U.S. 31 near this area,” said Holliday.
Drivers who normally use I-465 to take State Road 37 or State Road 67 will be directed to take the Harding Street exit off of I-70. Southbound Harding Street will take drivers to State Road 37 or 67 via Kentucky Avenue.
But why completely close the interstate, verses lane restrictions?
"It’s a nine-day closure on each side, in total 18 days. So, we'd rather have an 18-day closure when it’s cost-effective and safe for the motorists verses it taking several months and having consistent safety issues with lane restrictions,” said Holliday.
Though the closure is happening one side at a time, the impact of the project is ginormous.
"We're looking at about 110,000 vehicles that will be impacted on this stretch of interstate," said Holliday.
That 110,000 vehicles being the daily number of cars affected.
Again, the eastbound closure begins Friday at 9 p.m. and will continue through 5 a.m. on Monday, September 24th. The westbound lanes closure begins Friday, September 28th at 9 p.m. and will continue through 5 a.m. on Monday, October 8th.
Reith-Riley does have incentives to complete the project on time.
“Each hour that they’re done ahead of schedule, they’ll get 5000 dollars, an hour if they’re ahead of schedule. If they’re behind schedule, there are 5,000 liquidated damages that will be assessed. For every hour they’re not open past 5 a.m. on September 24th or October 8th,” explained Holliday.
So, plan ahead and exercise patience, all in the name of a smooth commute.
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