Major Bridge Between Indianapolis and Chicago Shut Down
Photo via Twitter/Fox59.com
Department of Transportation crews working on widening the Interstate 65 bridge in Lafayette, Indiana last week were stunned when a portion of the structure dropped nine inches, closing down almost 50 miles of road between Indianapolis and Chicago.
In a report from Chris Morisse Vizza and Hannah Smith Kiefer of the Lafayette Journal and Courier, the incident took place Tuesday, Aug. 4 at 2:30 p.m. local time when crews working on the bridge noticed unusual movement in the structure.
Eventually, the bridge dropped down several inches, something officials are blaming on soil conditions and heavy vibrations from pile driving during the lane expansion project.
The sudden drop left several drivers stranded, forcing workers to lay down gravel in order for those on the bridge to be able to turn around. Surprisingly, state officials reopened the bridge on Aug. 5, but once again closed it on Aug 7 when they deemed the structure not up to code due to the instability of the temporary steel supports.
The official Twitter account of Rand McNally Trucking shared an image of the bridge:
The I-65 northbound bridge in Lafayette is currently closed due to structural issues. Our maps are updated to... http://t.co/F2ARLPg5Sa— RandMcNally Trucking (@RandTrucking) August 11, 2015
An investigation into the Wildcat Creek Bridge revealed the structure was inspected on May 19 and was deemed to have substructure, piers and abutments that were in poor condition. Since other portions of the bridge were passable, though, it was not closed.
Now that the northbound section of the bridge is closed, the focus shifts to traffic patterns and how travelers will be able to make their way around with the main road shut down. For those traveling northbound on I-65, be ready for a detour that will last for 60 miles.
An average of 25,000 vehicles crossed the northbound portion of the I-65 bridge every day, and there is no timetable for it to be reopened. State highway commissioner Brandye Hendrickson told the Lafayette Journal and Courier, “We would hesitate to give any kind of timeline at this time. It will probably be later in the week before we really get our arms around some of the more viable solutions. The full closure of a major interstate is understandably frustrating and difficult to bear.”
While the northbound portion of the road will be closed, the southbound half of the Wildcat Creek Bridge will still be open to traffic. So far, there has been no estimate for the cost of repairs released to the public.
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