I-70 in Hancock County reopens more than 6 hours after emergency road work

Drivers left their parked vehicles when emergency road repairs shut down I-70 east of Greenfield Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. (INDOT camera image)

GREENFIELD, Ind. (WTHR) - INDOT road crews were forced to shut down all eastbound traffic on Interstate 70 late Saturday morning to make emergency repairs on a deteriorating portion of the highway.

The closure occurred at the Greenfield exit to State Road 9, where traffic could divert to U.S. 40 to continue heading east.

The repairs were necessary, according to an INDOT spokesperson, because traffic traveling through a work zone in eastern Hancock County began to drive on the highway shoulder, causing that pavement to break down.

Paving crews needed all lanes closed east of the rest area near the 108 mile marker. That emergency closure had created a seven mile backup stretching west of Greenfield by 12:45 p.m.

INDOT and Hancock County sent messages about the closure as it was occurring shortly before 11 a.m. anticipating the closure to last "30 minutes to an hour."

But two hours later, traffic was still at a dead stop and drivers were leaving their cars and sitting on the road.

Some were turning around in the median at areas where there was a break in the cable barriers separating westbound and eastbound lanes.

The closure ended just before 1 p.m. but INDOT was not able to completely repair the shoulder damage, and is planning another total closure in the same area at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Just before 10:30 p.m., I-70 officially reopened. INDOT wants drivers to be careful in the area because it is still a construction zone. The right lane remained closed.