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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Super 70

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Hang in there motorists, it’s almost completed

By JESSICA WILLIAMS-GIBSON

It seems as if the I-70 project has been taking forever, but Andy Dietrick, communications director for the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) encourages motorists to hang in there.

As one of the oldest and most heavily traveled pieces of interstate highway in Indiana – 35 years old as a matter of fact – I-70 was literally falling apart. In order to keep the Eastside mobile, the interstate section had to be rebuilt.

“We literally went in, ripped everything up and started from scratch,” said Dietrick.

Since last fall, work crews widened shoulders, rehabbed all of the bridges, built two new bridges, and are completely repaving about 75 lane miles of new concrete; all in one construction season.

From the north split out to I-465 on the Eastside once all is finished, motorists will have a new highway.

Currently, the highway favors westbound traffic getting off of exits such as I-465-Shadeland, Emerson, and Keystone-Rural. The multiple closures allowed crews to work quickly on the project.

“Because of the way this is built and the traffic volumes we’re running, the decision was made for the safety and the mobility of existing traffic to not allow new traffic on, which is why all the ramps onto the construction zone were closed,” explained Dietrick.

Indiana State Police are also concerned about the safety of motorists traveling the highway.

“We have troopers out 24 hours a day – not only enforcing the speed limit, but trucks over 13 tons are prohibited,” said Sgt. Rod Russell, public information officer, Redkey District, Indiana State Police.

Police are also taking such strong action to reduce crashes and save lives in the work zone. Since the project started, there have been slight personal injury crashes or property damage, but no fatalities. For all the drivers with a lead foot, the speed limit is 45 miles an hour. Despite thin lanes and slow downs, traffic is moving well.

“If we weren’t out there, people would be driving 70, 80 miles an hour and that’s dangerous,” said Russell.

Super 70 is just one of INDOT’s projects made possible with the $175 million investment through Gov. Mitch Daniels’ Major Moves project. Once I-70 is complete, work will be done on Pendleton Pike, U.S. 40, and the Westside of Indianapolis among other old stretches of highway.

“There’s going to be construction going on all over the state of Indiana more than you’re used to. These are projects that just haven’t had the funding in the past and now we do,” said Dietrick. A combination of state and federal dollars was used in the Major Moves project.

Although Major Moves is just getting started, I-70 is almost complete giving relief to Indianapolis residents and visitors. The Sherman overpass will soon be completed and all that’s left is ramp work and paving. By mid-November, motorists will have I-70 back the way they remember, only better.

“Be patient, reduce your speed, don’t follow other vehicles closely, and be prepared for any sudden stops, said Russell.

For more information visit www.Super70.in.gov or www.majormoves.in.gov.

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