Construction work on south Interstate 65 will restrict travel at the State Road 46 interchange in Columbus beginning this weekend.
Tonight, the State Road 46 southbound on-ramp to I-65 will be closed, along with the turn lanes on Jonathan Moore Pike.
Highway workers will be completing a $1.4 million repair project for I-65, INDOT spokesman Harry Maginity said. The project will continue on weekends through Labor Day, he said.
Also, a 1.6-mile stretch of the passing lane on northbound I-65 on either side of the State Road 46 interchange will be closed to traffic, he said.
Occasional, but extensive traffic backups will happen at times on both I-65 and State Road 46, Maginity said.
The I-65 ramp and lane closings begin at 7 p.m. today, according to Aimee Morris of the Columbus City Engineer’s office.
Crews plan to work around the clock through Saturday and Sunday, with all traffic restrictions lifted no later than noon Monday, according to the Indiana Department of Transportation.
“This just won’t be this weekend,” Maginity warned. “Different restrictions will take place every weekend through August.”
For those heading south on I-65, the delays are likely to get worse between Seymour and Scottsburg, where another road crew is continuing around-the-clock work this weekend on a $54.7 million road repair project, Maginity said.
In southern Jackson and northern Scott counties, lines as long as seven miles could form on the interstate at times this weekend, according to estimates made by INDOT engineers.
“The worst time for potential delays will be (this) afternoon and evening for southbound traffic — and then again, Sunday afternoon and evening for those traveling north,” Maginity said.
In addition to that work, repair work will be done on four bridges this weekend on State Road 11 in the Seymour area, Maginity said. The project will force road crews to close up to five miles of State Road 11 from the I-65 interchange south through Rockford and into Seymour, Maginity said.
That same stretch of State Road 11 will be closed again next weekend in order to put down a new layer of asphalt, Maginity said.
U.S. 31 between Columbus and Scottsburg is the suggested alternative for travelers trying to avoid all the construction zones, but more traffic congestion is likely because of the construction, Maginity said.
Those needing to travel north on I-65 this weekend should use U.S. 31 and get on to I-65 at the Taylorsville interchange, Maginity recommended. Those traveling south should take U.S. 31 to the Scottsburg exit to I-65.
The around-the-clock weekend projects are part of an accelerated road program initiated by the state designed to lower traffic disruption on weekdays, according to INDOT.
By working weekends, crews can also shorten the time on an average construction project by six to eight weeks, Maginity said.