New concept to improve I-65 south of Columbus

Three “design-build” teams will compete to modernize 14 miles of Interstate 65 south of Columbus next year.

The major pavement rehab and upgrade project will include several bridges between U.S. 50 and State Road 58 and is scheduled to begin construction next year, said Will Wingfield, Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman for the agency’s Seymour district.

Wingfield said plans call for the I-65 improvement project north of Columbus, from Franklin to Indianapolis, to be completed before the project south of Columbus begins.

The project south of Columbus is modeled in a different way than having an engineering company design the project, bidding it out to a contractor with the lowest bid and then building it, Wingfield said.

Instead, INDOT has three teams pairing up an engineering company with a construction company that will compete to deliver the best taxpayer-value project for a fixed price that will be set by INDOT later this year in a request for proposals, Wingfield said.

The teams include:

E&B Paving Inc. with lead engineer United Consulting Engineers Inc.

Milestone Contractors with lead engineer Parsons Transportation Group Inc.

Rieth-Riley Construction Co. with lead engineer AECOM

The “design-build” concept has been used before, most recently on I-69 northeast of Indianapolis and I-65 in northwest Indiana, Wingfield said. The work being done on I-65 between Franklin and Indianapolis is another “design-build” project, he said.

While the sections of southern I-65 being renovated aren’t the busiest in the state — Interstate 94 between the Indiana Toll Road and Chicago has that honor — they are a popular freight route, and that’s a reason the upgrades are needed.

Wingfield said the teams will take into account modern safety standards when designing upgrades for the interstate south of Columbus, as the original road was built decades ago, long before what is now known about building safety standards into road construction.

Putting down new pavement on the road alone is a factor in making the interstate safer, Wingfield said.

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