As traffic increases, repairs on I-65 bridge begin

(WLFI Photo)

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – If you watch the traffic go by, you don’t need numbers to know traffic is increasing on Tippecanoe County roads.

“You can just tell,” West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis said.

According to the Indiana Department of Transportation on U.S. 231 more than 3,600 trucks travel on the road daily since the I-65 detour was established. Before the detour that number was fewer than 500.

In all, more than 13,000 vehicles are using 231 daily right now.

“People obviously first started out using the traditional detour,” Dennis said. “Since that time they have found shortcuts with the detour.”

Greater Lafayette officials said trucks and cars are leaving the detour and getting onto the city roads to meet the closest I-65 on ramp.

Dennis said he’s seeing it on River Road.

“You can tell,” Dennis said. “In some instances when you’re coming to an intersection it almost looks like a train is going by.”

In Lafayette, Mayor Tony Roswarski said the detour has done a good job keeping trucks off city roads.

On Monday, he drove the detour, and went straight on 52 with local traffic to see if trucks are cutting through to State Road 25 to get onto 65.

“I went through our detour on Sagamore all the way out then to 25 just to see how many,” Roswarski said. “There were four or five during that period.”

In fact, Roswarski said the calls to his office complaining about the detour have gone down.

“I’m getting no phone calls now about people who have to commute back and forth to Indy taking so long to get back and forth,” Roswarski said. “I think we’re about as close to that happy median as we can.”

There could be a light at the end of the tunnel. Testing on the bridge is complete, and the repair process has begun. Walsh Construction installed 12 micropiles. Crews are now installing reinforcement steel and concrete. Once the concrete cures and gains strength, crews will jack up the bridge to its normal height and install temporary steel supports.

INDOT still maintains it will be back open by Mid-September.

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