INDOT begins massive south side construction project

Courtesy: INDOT

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Drivers heading through the south side of Indianapolis may see congestion for the next few months. The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) started a $19.6 million project Sunday evening to rebuild six mainline bridges at the I-465/I-65 interchange.

The six bridges being targeted were built in the 1960’s. A spokesperson for INDOT said it’s more cost effective and time efficient to replace all six bridges during the course of a two-phase project.

“They’ve been refurbished, and the most efficient project to extend the life of these bridges is to rebuild them completely for the future,” said Nathan Riggs, media relations for INDOT. Riggs said previous projects at this particular interchange targeted traffic capacity and traffic flow improvements.

This time around, the construction targets traffic motion through the ramps and bridges.

Sunday evening the I-465 eastbound ramp to I-65 northbound shut down, and will remain closed throughout construction. Drivers will be directed southbound of I-65 to the Southport Road exit, then redirected back onto northbound I-65.

An estimated 6,000 vehicles pass over the ramp each and every day.

“That’s not a lot,” said Riggs, “Not to minimize those people that are being displaced. But we have to steer those people somewhere if we’re going to be closing this ramp, and that is the most efficient route.”

The official detour aims at keeping state highway travelers off of local roads. It’s the quickest option for through-traffic, but it may not be the quickest route for locals who are jumping on and off the interstate.

Riggs said that by doing all the work at once, INDOT was able to bid out a larger contract for a cheaper price than if they’d broken it into smaller initiatives. This way, the work is consolidate into a quicker, less expensive construction timeline.

Travel Lanes:

During this first week of Phase One, drivers will experience a series of lane changes. Sunday evening traffic from the three northbound lanes shifted left closer to the median. On Wednesday, two southbound and three northbound lanes will shift right as crews pave.

By Saturday, the new traffic pattern for Phase One will be fully configured: two southbound lanes will shift across the media to the northbound side of I-65, and there will be two lanes heading southbound and three lanes heading northbound.

More Ramp Closures:

  • (Late March/Early April) Southbound I-65 ramp to eastbound I-465 closes for 150 days.
  • (Late summer) Northbound I-65 to westbound I-465 closes for 150 days.

Phase Two starts mid-summer and will complete the second half of bridge construction.

Drivers can expect to experience some slowdowns through this south side interstate exchange for the next few months. Travel lanes will be decreased from 12-feet to 11-feet. Speed limits will be reduced to 45 miles per hour while work crews are present.

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