Orange barrels and flashing caution signs are no new sight to Hoosier commuters, and they’re not disappearing anytime soon.
The construction on Interstate-65, stretching from Greenwood’s Main Street exit to the Franklin exit at State Road 44, is one of several projects included in the state’s Major Moves 2020 project, proposed by Gov. Mike Pence.
In 2014, the state legislature appropriated $400 million for the construction and widening of heavily traveled, four-lane interstates across the state of Indiana.
“Our infrastructure makes Indiana a national transportation hub and a global distribution powerhouse, and it is one of the reasons Indiana continues to be recognized as a great place to do business,” Pence said in a statement.
Projects currently under construction through the Major Moves 2020 initiative include the following:
- I-65 between State Road 44 near Franklin and the Johnson/Marion county line
- I-65 from State Road 38 to State Road 26 near Lafayette in Tippecanoe County
- I-65 between Sellersburg and Memphis in Clark County
- I-69 between Fishers and Pendleton in Hamilton and Madison counties
Harry Maginity, Southeast Indiana Department of Transportation’s media relations director, said the current project affecting the Franklin area is an $84 million construction effort stretching 11 miles.
Despite being called an “added travel lanes” project, Maginity said what most commuters do not understand is the construction involves rebuilding the entire width of the highway—not just adding a fresh, new lane.
In 2015, contractors focused on completing a three-mile midsection within the 11-mile stretch.
Maginity said the plan is to have almost all the work completed by the end of November, but crews will return in May to complete a final surface coat on the south stretch of the project, expanding from Whiteland Road to State Road 44.
The final coat must be laid during a certain temperature environment due to its sensitivity to temperatures below 50 degrees.
He compared the road construction process to that of building a house.
“You have a contractor,” Maginity said. “You give them a punch list of things our inspectors and project engineers look at, and we give them a punch list of items that need to be fixed up in the pre-final.”
But it doesn’t end there. After several inspections, INDOT can officially wrap up their construction efforts and remove all signs cautioning drivers.
Until all construction is complete, INDOT urges interstate commuters to follow the speed limit signs, pay attention to traffic shifts and put down the cell phone.
“Obey the speed limit the state police are enforcing,” Maginity said. “They’re writing tickets, which seems like the only way to slow traffic down is to write a whole lot of tickets. Some people are not too sympathetic with our workers working out alongside the road.”
The project is expected to be completed during the summer of 2017.
For information regarding road closures, detours and future projects, visit in.gov/indot and click the Major Moves 2020 tab.