A bridge that’s sinking into Wildcat Creek just east of Lafayette will be causing big travel headaches through central Indiana for at least another 30 days. Truckers and other motorists are dealing with full closure of the northbound lanes of I-65 between Lebanon and Lafayette, which necessitates a 60-mile detour.
I-65 is a major link between Indianapolis and Chicago, and the bridge normally handles about 16,000 cars and 8,000 trucks a day.
Some movement in the vertical riverbank pier prompted structural engineers to close the bridge on Aug. 4. Emergency repairs were made and the northbound lanes of I-65 opened briefly, but when some sinking was again noticed, this primary throughway was deemed unsafe for use.
On Friday, West Central Indiana DOT Communications Director Debbie Calder said experts have identified a likely solution and estimated a repair schedule.
“We are estimating it will be mid-September,” she told Land Line. InDOT announced Friday morning that contractors Walsh Construction Co.’s plan of action is to install “micropiles” to stabilize the bridge piers.
The detour recommended by InDOT is as follows: I-65 northbound merges to one lane and is diverted onto U.S. 52 at Exit 141 north of Lebanon. Follow U.S. 52 north for nearly 17 miles, and then turn left at State Road 28. Follow S.R. 28 west for about 10 miles, and then turn right onto U.S. 231. Follow U.S. 231 north for about 33 miles until it intersects I-65 again in White County.
InDOT and law enforcement staff are helping to direct traffic where S.R. 28 turns north onto U.S. 231 at Romney. In addition, InDOT traffic engineers are monitoring traffic flow at U.S. 231 signals and adjusting timing patterns.
There are several ways that drivers can stay updated on the closure. A real-time traffic map is available here. You can follow InDOT on Twitter or Facebook or dial 511 from your mobile phone or 800-261-ROAD (7623).
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