U.S. 31 reopening at Sand Creek on Wednesday

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Tribune file photo by Aubrey Woods / Workers with Milestone and ABC Cutting Contractors began removing the concrete deck of the Sand Creek bridge on U.S. 31 at the Jackson County line with Bartholomew County on May 9. Milestone is the general contractor for an $8.5 million project to replace the bridge and two nearby culverts during a 240-day closure of the road.

The Indiana Department of Transportation’s multifaceted $8.5 million project on U.S. 31 between Columbus and Seymour will reopen to traffic today — three weeks ahead of schedule.

The state’s contract allowed Milestone Contractors to close U.S. 31 for 240 days to build a new 382-foot bridge over Sand Creek at the Jackson County line with Bartholomew County.

During the closure, U.S. 31 approaches to the bridge — located 7.2 miles south of State Road 7 — were raised five feet and ditches were cut on all sides. In addition, a culvert was replaced north of Sand Creek and an arch structure was built south of Sand Creek at Quade Ditch.

“A safer, smoother U.S. 31 opens to welcome Thanksgiving travelers between Columbus and Seymour,” said INDOT Commissioner Brandye Hendrickson. “Construction begins late next year to modernize nearby I-65 as part of INDOT’s record-setting investments in its roads and bridges.”

The U.S. 31 project also called for building a single-lane roundabout at County Road 400S, 1.6 miles south of State Road 7 in Bartholomew County. Originally slated for 2017 construction, the Southern Crossing roundabout was advanced to this year to complete all significant project operations in one year.

The roundabout, featuring an 18-foot travel lane, 10-foot truck apron and 156-foot outside diameter, was opened to traffic Aug. 2.

The U.S. 31 project got underway in mid-March when crews began repairing and resurfacing 16 miles of the north-south highway. Pavement work included replacement of a section under the CSX railroad bridge between East County Avenue and County Road 700N in Jackson County. Slope work, seeding and minor repair operations will continue into next year.