August 25, 2014 – Drivers need to prepare for the “Big Squeeze,” with long-term lane reductions on both I-65 North and I-65 South in Southern Indiana as a new stage of construction begins for the Ohio River Bridges Project Downtown Crossing.
I-65 North and I-65 South will be reduced from three through lanes of traffic to two from the Kennedy Bridge to Brown’s Station Way. The lane reductions extend for nearly 1 ½ miles, with significant congestion and delays expected.
The lane closures are expected to begin Tuesday, September 2, right after the Labor Day weekend. I-65 lane closures in Southern Indiana are expected to continue until late 2016, when the project nears completion.
Major Delays Expected
The changes will reduce capacity by a third, with drivers expected to see slower moving traffic and greater delays. This is a long-term change that will have drivers searching for possible alternatives to help their commute.
• Adjust travel plans, when possible, to avoid peak times
• Consider alternate routes, including the Sherman Minton Bridge
• Consider using surface streets, when possible
• Allow extra time
• Consider carpooling or public transportation, www.ridetarc.org
• Focus on the road and avoid distractions such as cell phones
Why the Lane Restrictions are Necessary
The lane closures will squeeze both directions of I-65 into the area where the southbound lanes are currently. This shift will allow for the demolition of the existing and the construction of new northbound lanes to connect with the new Ohio River bridge under construction.
Traffic Moves to I-65 South
During this stage of construction, I-65 North traffic -- from the Kennedy Bridge to Brown’s Station Way -- will share the existing lanes of I-65 South. The movement will happen in stages and is expected to take up to two weeks to complete.
• There won’t be direct access from I-65 North to Stansifer Avenue or Brown’s Station Way after I-65 North traffic is moved the week of September 15
• Northbound lanes of traffic on the Kennedy Bridge will be reduced from three through lanes of traffic and an exit lane to two through lanes and an exit lane
• Southbound lanes on the Kennedy Bridge will not be affected
Expected Timeline (Subject to Change)
Week of September 2:
• The inside lanes of I-65 South and I-65 North, from the Kennedy Bridge to Brown’s Station Way, are closed
• Barrier wall is set to protect workers and crossover points are constructed
• Necessary restriping work is completed
Week of September 8:
• I-65 South traffic is moved into its new, split position with one lane of southbound traffic on the I 65-South collector-distributor
• Temporary concrete barrier is placed along the southbound lanes of I-65
Week of September 15:
• I-65 North traffic is moved to its new position, occupying two lanes of the former I-65 South