By Makenna Mays
INDIANAPOLIS – Despite cold weather and rain, construction on the I-65 ramp to westbound I-465 has been completed and is now open to traffic.
“Weather always impacts construction whether we’re talking spring rains or now where we’re getting into the November rains,” said Nathan Riggs, media relations director for the Indiana Department of Transportation.
Construction began on the six bridges at I-65 where the highway converges with I-465 began on March 5. During construction, crews shifted three northbound and two southbound traffic lanes to share the southbound side of I-65 over I-465. Four bridges are now complete and open to traffic.
Currently, construction on the other two bridges is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.
“That’s a very busy schedule for this project,” said Riggs.
For this project specifically, they have been able to maintain traffic on I-65 and I-465, which allows mobility through construction sites, with the exception of a few nightly lane and ramp closures from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
“If we were to just close down the entire interchange we probably could have constructed the bridges much faster, it would have been at a greater expense to mobility,” Riggs said.
The biggest impact to traffic with this project has been the ramp closures, which they minimized by putting caps on the number of days that they can be closed.
Riggs said the project has been about balancing safety and cost. Allowing traffic to drive through these construction zones has raised safety issues because of the number of vehicles that fail to follow the speed limit.
“Speeding is an issue we face on nearly all of our interstate construction,” Riggs said.
Riggs said that these reduced speed limits in work zones are not only for the safety of workers, but motorists as well.
“Most often when there’s a crash, it’s the driver who is injured or killed,” Riggs said.
These reduced speeds are in place not only to allow mobility through construction zones, but because often lanes are narrower. Riggs also said that there is an issue with distracted driving.
“In work zones, the margin of error is so small, there’s no room for mistake and far too often the consequences for those mistakes are tragic,” said Riggs.
The Indiana Department of Transportation issued some ramp closure advisories ahead of weekend travel. The State Road 47 to I-65 southbound entrance ramps will close Friday, Nov. 3 at 10 p.m. and reopen Monday, Nov. 6 by 6 a.m. The State Road 28 entrance ramp to I-65 northbound will also close Friday, Nov. 3 at 10 p.m. and reopen Monday, Nov.6 at 8 am.
Hoosiers can stay updated about highway work other traffic alerts at indot.carsprogram.org.
Makenna Mays is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.