Drivers relieved as Allisonville Rd. bridge opens

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It should be a faster drive to work for thousands of people tomorrow now that a bridge closed for months is finally back open.

The Allisonville Road bridge over I-465 on the northeast side unexpectedly opened Tuesday.

The open lanes are a welcome sight for thousands of people who have struggled to find a new way to work over the past few months. While some painful lane restrictions will last another month, drivers say this is light at the end of the tunnel.

It's been nearly four months with a morning commute that's been at least 15 minutes longer for Leslie Tindal.

"We know it's for improvements, so that's the great thing, but still, it's kinda tedious," Tindal said.

"It would take you at least 45 minutes to an hour to get to your destination," said driver Willa Baxter.

Some of that wait let up Tuesday morning when lanes on the Allisonville Road bridge opened a few months earlier than expected, surprising drivers.

"Traffic did move a lot easier, so I was happy," said Tindal.

"I did it today when I was coming here to K & G and I said, 'Wow. About time'," added Baxter.

Even some ladies in town on business the past few weeks noticed a difference.

"Now that it's open, I'm like, this is the best thing ever," said Itia Saahira from Bloomington.

"It's, like, great for us 'cause, we can sleep in longer," said Margaret Batteast from South Bend.

While the opening of the bridge has created some relief from the traffic, there's still a lot of work to be done on the pavement and that's leaving its own set of headaches, like traffic back-ups on southbound I-69 during evening rush hour.

"That's still going to be a problem for those people and I think a lot of times, people try to continue on 465 to kinda help with the commute instead of getting off at 69, but its almost like a no-win situation at this point," said Tindal.

Still, drivers said they're relieved to feel some of the traffic tie-ups easing up.

"You would think that by this being Indiana, when they start something, it takes them awhile to finish it, so I'm glad they got the process going," said Baxter.

There will still be some lane restrictions that will last for another month, but once those lanes are open, the new bridge will have three through lanes and two left turn lanes in each direction. There will also be bike lanes and sidewalks.

Originally, the $19 million project estimated to close the bridge for up to seven months. But the bridge over I-465 opened to traffic in less than four months.

See the project website to view a short message from Indiana Department of Transportation Chief of Staff Troy Woodruff thanking motorists and businesses for their patience and support.