INDOT reaches contract deal for south side I-65/465 project

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Plans to improve the I-65/I-465 interchange on the Indianapolis south side are moving forward.

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) said Thursday that it has awarded a $40 million contract to Walsh Construction Company of Crown Point for improvements to the south side I-465 and I-65 interchange area.

The Operation Indy Commute I-65 project seeks to strategically reduce recurring commuting bottlenecks by implementing quick-turnaround traffic flow improvements, which include:

· Additional traffic lanes will be added to both directions of I-65 between Southport Road and I-465.

· Additional traffic lanes will be added to both directions of I-465 between I-65 and Emerson Avenue.

· Widening I-465 will require closure and replacement of the Sherman Drive bridge.

· A new two-lane flyover will replace the westbound I-465 loop ramp to southbound I-65.

· The northbound I-65 ramp to eastbound I-465 will be widened to two lanes.

· The existing I-465 ramp to southbound I-65 will be reconstructed on a new alignment.

A construction schedule will be established in the near future, and the project is expected to be complete by spring of 2015. The contract limits lane closures and traffic impacts during the planned 59-day closure of I-65/70 between the north and south splits, which is scheduled to begin Tuesday, Sept. 3.

During construction, traffic will be maintained on the existing I-65 and I-465 ramps until improvements are complete. Three lanes will be maintained in each direction on both I-65 and I-465 during peak traffic times, and interstate lane closures may be required at night and other off-peak times. Sherman Drive will be detoured while the bridge is replaced. The contract allows for closure of up to 7 days on the westbound Southport Road entrance ramp to northbound I-65 to enhance worker and motorist safety as the ramp is connected to a new auxiliary lane to I-465.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has also awarded INDOT with a $2 million Highways for LIFE grant to research a variety of concrete surfaces on the project, including one developed by Purdue University. The Next Generation Concrete Surface (NGCS) has the potential of significant noise reduction and the ability to maintain friction for increased skid and hydroplaning resistance.

A separate contract to be let in 2014 will install noise barriers along residential areas in the locations listed below. A public hearing is planned later this year to provide more details about the proposed mitigation and the construction process.

· Eastbound and westbound I-465 from Sherman Drive to Emerson Avenue

· Along the Northeast and Southwest sides of the I-465/I-65 interchange

· Along southbound I-65 from the I-465 interchange to just South of Thompson Road

· Along southbound I-65 North of Edgewood Avenue to Gray Road

· Along northbound I-65 from the I-465 interchange to the Buck Creek Flood Way, approximately 1000 feet beyond Gray Road.

See updates on the project here.