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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) reopened I-65 on the northwest side and downtown ahead of schedule Friday. The deadline had been set for Sunday, Aug. 5.

An INDOT spokesperson said one direction was done at a time to help keep workers safe, first the southbound lanes and then the northbound lanes.

“We wanted to make sure our crews are safe when removing the barriers,” said Lamar Holliday, a spokesperson for INDOT. “The only way to do that as safely as possible is by starting on one side and then working on the other side.”

INDOT says American Contracting & Services was contracted to rehab six bridges between Meridian and 21st Streets downtown as well as a bridge on the southbound lane on the northwest side at the I-65/I-465 interchange. The work totaled approximately $5.5 million.

Holliday said the contractor has an incentive to get both directions up and running before Saturday.

“When we originally bid this project out, (whoever the contractor,) they would get $50,000 a day, up to five days if they open early,” said Holliday. “The contractor still has the potential to get at least a one-day incentive if they open up both south- and north- bound lanes by midnight tonight.”

Holliday said his office had gotten many calls about updates to the work, with motorists and large employers affected by the closure, making sure the project would be done on time.

“We’re thrilled that not only are we done, but we are ahead of schedule,” Holliday said.