AASHTO Journal

Indiana DOT Warns of 13-Day Squeeze to One I-70 East Lane Near Ohio Border

The Indiana Department of Transportation is telling motorists to prepare to squeeze into one eastbound lane for up to 13 days on a heavily traveled part of Interstate 70 near the Ohio border, as construction crews replace an aging bridge at the Indiana Route 121 overpass.

The two-week constriction begins at 9 p.m. local time Oct. 13, the department said. The overpass is located on I-70 East near mile 155 and is about 1 mile west of the Indiana-Ohio state line between Exit 153 and Exit 156.

I-70 is one of the nation's busiest cross-country highways, and the department is warning local drivers to avoid the construction zone if possible. Even so, it expects "significant backups" while the interstate is reduced to one lane.

capitol0816.jpgThis is the second such disruption there in recent weeks, following a replacement of the westbound bridge last month.

While the contractor also projected traffic disruptions lasting up to 13 days for that first bridge, it was able to complete the work in eight days and reopened I-70 West on Sept. 17.

INDOT said one lane of I-70 East will be shifted to cross the median onto the westbound side of the highway, where two lanes of I-70 West will be separated from opposing traffic by temporary concrete barriers.

During the 13-day bridge replacement, crews will demolish the existing eastbound bridge and then slide into place the new bridge deck that is already built and waiting in the median.

The project will also rebuild the pavement approaches to the bridge before reopening the two lanes of I-70 East.

In its announcement, INDOT said it expects more traffic than normal on alternate routes such as US 27 and US 40 as drivers try to get around the traffic backup. It is discouraging interstate traffic from trying to move through nearby Richmond, Ind.

"A signed alternate route will encourage traffic, especially truck traffic, to bypass bridge construction," INDOT said, by going north on US 27 (Exit 151), east on US 36, and south on Ohio Route 127 to return to I-70 East. "Wide loads will be prohibited from the I-70 work zone because of reduced lane widths of 11 feet and should follow the signed route as a detour."

And of course with its overpass bridge under construction, SR 121 (New Paris Pike) will also be closed for up to one week as the old I-70 structure is demolished and the new bridge deck is slid into place. During its closure, a signed detour will direct traffic south to US 40 via US 27 and Ohio Route 320 (Washington Street in New Paris, Ohio.

More information and updates are available at the project website.

Questions regarding this article may be directed to editor@aashtojournal.org.

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