I-65 bridge closure breathes new life into detour route

(WLFI Photo)

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) – I-65 north remains closed Wednesday evening as crews repair a bridge that was in danger of collapsing.

The bridge in Tippecanoe County is in the middle of construction to widen the roadway.

The detour around the closure is about 50 miles. The otherwise sleepy towns along the way are getting a new breath of new life.

The register didn’t stop ringing today the Pit Stop Diner in Romney.

“I’m pretty shocked to see all this traffic. Romney is a pretty small town,” said Chad Lohmeyer, who works nearby and was eating lunch.

The restaurant in Tippecanoe county is at the end of a 50 mile detour.

Every semi and car that would’ve taken I-65 was on it.

“I was like ‘Where is all this traffic coming from?’ because you don’t see that many semis out here,” said Kelly Chew, who was eating with coworkers.

Contractors working to widen I-65 noticed Tuesday that a rocker bearing actually fell from under a bridge.

“Obviously it’s a good thing we were there doing work and recognized the problem immediately,” said Bob Fisher, who is contracted by INDOT to widen the road.

Rocker bearings support bridges as they contract and expand.

“Basically what these rockers allow is for that expansion and contracting to take place. You get an expansion, it contracts and expands with the bridge. They rocked too far between traffic vibration, things like that. They tilted too far and fell out from under the beams,” said Fisher.

“Once we go further into this investigation and find exactly why this did happen, definitely if there’s something we can learn from it we’ll use that in inspections in the future and looking at other bridges around the state,” said INDOT spokeswoman, Debbie Calder.

Back in Romney, patience is king.

“It’s definitely a hassle, but I understand why,” said Lohmeyer

INDOT said their plan is to have this roadway reopened at some point Thursday and that this hasn’t put the widening project in jeopardy.

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