Indiana highway closing for 12 hours after storm

(WISH Photo, file)
(WISH Photo, file)

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Indiana was set to close a major highway beginning late Wednesday for 12 hours to repair damage from storms that raked the state, raising concerns from businesses along the route.

A nine-mile stretch of U.S. 30 between Interstate 65 and U.S. 41 — which carries commuters to Merrillville and the Chicago area was to be closed beginning at 10 p.m. Wednesday so highway and utility crews could repair damage caused by Monday night’s storms, the Indiana Department of Transportation announced.

The damage included downed power lines that directed about 70,000 volts onto traffic signal wiring, INDOT spokesman Matt Deitchley said.

“It just didn’t damage them. It fried them,” Deitchley said.

U.S. 30 handles about 45,000 vehicles a day.

“Your absolute best bet, unless you really need to be there, is just avoid the entire area altogether,” Deitchley said.

Closing U.S. 30 for an extended period of time was the only option for making the repairs, Deitchley said.

“Crews will be dragging huge cables across road for the entire stretch of the road,” he said.

Businesses along U.S. 30 scrambled to put together plans to give patrons access to and from their establishments.

“It’s going to be a nightmare, because Wednesday is one of our biggest nights,” Kimberly Wallace, general manager at Catch 22 Bar & Grill, told The (Munster) Times. “That is just not good.”

Like some other businesses, Catch 22 Bar & Grill was accessible via a cross street, so Wallace was hoping for the best.

Indiana State Police were set to enforce the closure, which was due to end by 10 a.m. Thursday, depending on the weather and other factors. The National Weather Service forecast a 40 percent chance of showers Wednesday night.

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