SEYMOUR — Work is now getting underway on this year’s phase of the $143 million modernization project that will widen Interstate 65 to three lanes in each direction between Seymour and the Walesboro-Ogilville interchange.
Updates on the 14.25-mile I-65 Southeast Indiana Project were provided to about 30 people who attended a Wednesday night forum at the Holiday Inn Express in Seymour.
As workers begin patching rough spots and strengthening outside shoulders this month, motorists on northbound I-65 may encounter flashers to signal nighttime lane closures between State Road 46 at Columbus and the Walesboro-Ogilville exit, project manager Scott O’Neil of E&B Paving Inc. said.
Generally, those closures will take place between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., O’Neil said.
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Beginning in mid to late March, workers will begin resurfacing that same area of interstate between the 64- and 68-mile markers.
Since I-65 won’t be widened in this area, the resurfacing should be completed within a month-and-a-half, O’Neil said.
Within weeks, commuters who frequently drive in the area of the Woodside industrial parks will see three new signals installed at the I-65 and State Road 58 interchange, according to a project outline.
Two of the signals will be located near entrance and exit ramps, while the third will be placed at International Drive, the outline stated.
Signal installations must be completed before actual interstate work south of the interchange gets underway this spring, O’Neil said.
The expansion of three lanes in each direction, from State Road 58 south to Able Ditch near the Bartholomew-Jackson County line, will begin in mid to late April and should be completed in the spring of 2019, O’Neil said.
Largely for the safety of those who work for Woodside area manufacturers, contractors are promising to maintain two lanes of traffic in each direction of I-65.
One lane of northbound traffic will be moved to the strengthened outside shoulder while workers add the extra lane within the existing median, O’Neil said.
After new lanes are complete, traffic in both directions will be moved to the northbound lanes to allow a complete overhaul of southbound I-65, O’Neil said.
However, O’Neil said motorists should anticipate flagmen at times, as well as some nighttime closures, along the 8.2 miles of interstate between State Road 58 and the Bartholomew/Jackson county line.
Temporary barrier walls will be set up to separate the crews from vehicular traffic in areas where the interstate will be widened to three lanes, according to the project outline.
Besides adding lanes in the median in both directions, the 2018 phase of construction also includes resurfacing exit and entrance ramps, including at the State Road 11 interchange in northern Jackson County.
Although one lane of each of the two-lane ramps at the State Road 11 interchange will periodically be off-limits to traffic, no complete ramp closures are anticipated, O’Neil said.
While bridge rehabilitation work is also part of the project, only the bridges that cross Denois and Smalls creeks will be upgraded this year.
Originally, the overall plan was to move from the north consistently to the south during the multi-year project. However, new revisions call for shifting construction to the southern end of the project next year.
Most work in 2019 will take place along a 3.8-mile stretch from U.S. 50 in Seymour north to where the interstate crosses the East Fork White River in Jackson County.
That will include rehabilitation of the I-65 bridges over the CSX Railroad and a branch of Mutton Creek.
By shifting next year’s work to the south, workers will have more time to upgrade a series of bridges and overpasses in northern Jackson County before crews focus their efforts on I-65.
Along the interstate in northern Jackson County, upgrades will be performed through the spring of 2020 on bridges over the East Fork White River, the L&I Railroad, and Able Ditch. Three other crossings over ditches used for flooding overflows will also be rehabilitated.
During the same period, the following overpasses crossing I-65 in Jackson County are expected to be closed at different intervals for 55 days for renovation work:
- Enos Road
- County Road 800N
- Redding Road
- Countyline Road
- County Road 950S
- County Road 625S
“But none of these will be closed while adjacent bridges are also under construction,” O’Neil said.
Times and detours for closures will be announced through mainstream and social media channels as they approach.
The final phase of construction will take place two years from now between East Fork White River and Able Ditch in northern Jackson County.
The entire I-65 Southeast Indiana Project is scheduled to be completed by August 5, 2020.
- Beginning this month: Patching and shoulder strengthening between State Road 46 at Columbus and the Walesboro-Ogilville exit. New signal installations at the State Road 58 interchange.
- Mid to late March: Resurfacing of existing pavement of Interstate 65 between the 64- and 68-mile markers.
- Mid to late April: Expansion of I-65 to three lanes begins between the Walesboro-Ogilville exit and Able Ditch near the Bartholomew-Jackson County line.
- Later this year: Resurfacing of the I-65 and State Road 11 exit ramps in northern Jackson County.
- Expansion of I-65 from U.S. 50 in Seymour north to the East Fork White River in Jackson County.
- Rehabilitation of several bridges and overpasses in northern Jackson County.
- Construction will take place between East Fork White River and Able Ditch in northern Jackson County.
- The entire I-65 Southeast Indiana Project is scheduled to be completed by August 5, 2020.