TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (Aug. 10, 2015) – INDOT announced Monday that there is currently no timetable for the reopening of the I-65 northbound bridge in Lafayette.
Officials said they met with a geotechnical consultant Saturday, and they began to test the soil around the foundation of the bridge. They will have a better idea as to when the bridge will reopen once those soil samples return, which could take the rest of the week.
Officials first closed the Wildcat Creek Bridge Tuesday, August 4 after crews working nearby noticed unusual movement in the bridge.
From there, inspectors determined some of the bearings fell, although the cause is still unclear. INDOT officials said it was likely caused by a combination of construction work being done to widen lanes in the area and water pooling underneath the ground.
Workers added support to the bridge and it was re-opened Wednesday, August 5.
But officials once again determined the bridge was unsafe and closed it again Friday, August 7.
Sunday night INDOT and state police installed temporary traffic signals at two critical points in the posted detour, at U.S. 52 and State Road 28 and State Road 28 at U.S. 231.
If you want to know what it's like without the bridge, just ask the place delivering your pizza.
"It's been a headache. ... (It) hurts some delivery times," Fox's Pizza Den manager Jordan Austin said.
Austin and his team work on State Road 26, smack in the middle of the span of closed northbound highway between Lebanon and Lafayette. He said the closure is the only thing people are talking about in the are.
"Everybody's angry. It's just been a big hassle," Austin said.
It's bringing up a serious issue that's long been in debate, too. Wingfield said that INDOT maintains 5,600 bridges across Indiana and more than 350 of those are in poor condition. Without additional funding, the department believed that number could double in 10 years.
"This is clear of the challenges that we face with rehabilitating and maintaining existing highways and interstates," Wingfield said.
They are challenges people like Austin wish could be dealt with, as they see the effects of the closure first-hand, with no end in sight.
"Hopefully they can get it figured out soon, for people traveling and for my sake too, for business," Austin said.
Indiana State Police have provided the following alternate routes:
- Exiting at State Road 38 (the 168 MM): Go west on SR 38 until you get to Sagamore Parkway. Go north on Sagamore Parkway until you get to the SR 25 north intersection. Go north on SR 25 until you reach the I-65 north entrance ramp.
- Exiting at State Road 26: Go west on SR 26 until you reach Sagamore Parkway. Go right ill you reach the SR 25 north intersection. Go north on SR 25 until you reach the I-65 north entrance ramp.
- Coming from Indianapolis: Exit at the 141 MM onto US 52 and take it all the way through Lafayette and follow the SR 25 north intersection to I-65 as stated in the other two alternative routes.