For The Tribune

Beginning this fall, it will take about three years to complete a $143 million modernization project that will widen Interstate 65 to three lanes in each direction between Seymour and Columbus.

That’s according to preliminary documents submitted for the I-65 Southeast Indiana Project by E&B Paving Inc., of Anderson and United Consulting Engineers Inc., of Indianapolis.

While the Indiana Department of Transportation has announced those companies as its preferred partners for the project, the official selection of a build-design team won’t be finalized until after the June 8 public-comment deadline, the department said.

As proposed, actual construction in Bartholomew County will begin next spring on the northern point of the 14.25-mile project, just north of the State Road 58 interchange at the Walesboro-Ogilville Exit 64. Work will move south until the project ends at U.S. 50 in Seymour in 2020.

For those who work in or near the Woodside Industrial Parks, traffic will be maintained on State Road 58 interchange ramps through phased construction, project documents state.

Simultaneous overpass work, however, will be going on in different areas of the construction zone during the final three phases. According to the documents, this approach allows for contingencies for potential loss of construction time, such as due to high water levels and unworkable ground conditions.

Besides overpasses and bridges, the project also calls for upgraded crossings over ditches used for flooding overflows.

Since contracts have not yet been signed, all plans and schedules remain preliminary. Final road designs will stay on the drawing board though November 2018, while engineers will work on final bridge designs through March 2019.

Here’s how the schedule is looking at this juncture, however.

2017

This fall, crews will begin by milling and strengthening outside shoulders from Oct. 23 through Nov. 3, according to project documents. That will be immediately followed by median construction that will expected to be finished by April 3, 2018, the documents state. There will also be some minor work done to the exit ramps that should not impede traffic.For the first phase of the project, motorists can anticipate short-term one-lane closures at night, with traffic maintained on both north and southbound lanes, according to the plans.

2018

North of the Walesboro-Ogilville exit, crews will be doing construction work on the bridge crossing Denois Creek from April 9 through Sept 21, 2018.Upgrades will also begin in the spring on Smalls Creek Bridge, located just south of County Road 625S in Bartholomew County. As that structure is competed, construction will begin between the bridge and Able Ditch, located near the Bartholomew-Jackson County line.

Overpasses in Jackson County tentatively scheduled to be upgraded in 2018 are:

Enos Road (County Road 700N): April 2 to May 29

County Road 800N: May 30 to July 12

Redding Road: July 13 to Aug. 28.

While two lanes of I-65 will remain open in both directions, an additional two lanes will be added in the northbound lanes next to the median in 2018.

2019

All southbound traffic will be rerouted to the new northbound lanes during the third phase, leaving the current southbound corridor completely open to workers in 2019. Two lanes will be added to the current southbound lanes during the construction season.Beyond the 6-lane construction zone, the contract calls for resurfacing I-65 from State Road 58 to State Road 46 in Columbus during this construction season.

Work will take place in 2019 on the State Road 11 overpass south of Jonesville. Currently, that project is scheduled to take place from April 1 through June 21. Full access will be maintained to the State Road 11 interchange ramps through phased construction.

Other overpasses scheduled for work are:

Countyline Road: June 22 to Aug. 28

Bartholomew County Road 950S: Aug. 29 to Oct. 16

Rehabilitation of the CSX Railroad and Mutton Creek bridges in Jackson County will also get underway in the spring of 2019.

2020

During the fourth and final phase, two-way traffic flow on I-65 will be just the opposite as it was during the third phase. Drivers will be moved to the recently added southbound lanes, while crews concentrate on the northbound corridor.The rehabilitation of the final overpass — County Road 625S in Bartholomew County — will take place from April 2 to May 22, 2020.

The last projects will include renovating the Louisville & Indiana Railroad crossing and the Able Ditch bridge, both located just north of the State Road 11 interchange in northern Jackson County.

All work is scheduled to be completed on Aug. 17, 2020, which is 44 days ahead of the deadline set by INDOT.

No asphalt plant

If E&B gets the contract next month as expected, a temporary asphalt plant will not be built in the Woodside Southwest Industrial Park.The Columbus Board of Zoning Appeals voted 3-2 on March 28 to allow such a facility on an 8.22-acre leased site owned by Pintail Investments LLC.

But Pintail has no intentions of recruiting the successful bidder to use the land for the same purpose as Milestone Contractors L.P. had envisioned, Pintail managing partner Chuck Corbin told the BZA.

INDOT reviewed proposals submitted by three qualified design-build teams for the I-65 Southeast Indiana Project. Besides E&B, the other paving contractors were Milestone Contractors L.P., which has six principal offices in Indiana including Columbus, and Rieth-Riley Construction Co. Inc., based in Goshen.

Corbin said a key reason he agreed to lease land to Milestone if it had won the contract was his own relationship with the family of former Milestone CEO John Spangler, who died in 2003.

“We don’t plan to lease it to anyone else (for an asphalt plant),” Corbin said.

There doesn’t appear to be a need for a large temporary asphalt plant to support the project with E&B, said Andy Dietrick of INDOT’s Innovative Project Delivery Division.

E&B is a wholly owned subsidiary of Irving Materials Inc., one of the Midwest’s largest concrete, aggregate and building suppliers.

The paving company has 19 permanent asphalt and concrete producing facilities at its disposal, with the nearest in Monroe and Lawrence counties.

More information /what's next

The public can review plans for the I-65 Southeast Indiana Project, to widen and modernize 14.25 miles of Interstate 65 between Seymour and Columbus, online.

The web address is www.in.gov/dot/div/contracts/65se/65SE.htm.

The Preliminary Project Management Plan can be founded under the Selected Proposal menu at “TP Volume 2 Redacted.” Many specific details of public interest can be found from pages 21 to 22 and pages 43 to 58.

Written comments about the proposal must be submitted by 5 p.m. June 8. Comments may be emailed to sperez@ifa.in.gov or mailed to: Project Manager Silvia Perez, One North Capitol, Suite 900, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

Two public hearings about the preferred proposal have been scheduled:

  • 6 p.m. June 7 at Columbus City Hall, 123 Washington St.
  • 6 p.m. June 8 at Brownstown Town Hall, 200 West Walnut St.

Both meetings sponsored by the Indiana Department of Transportation will have a brief presentation followed by a formal public comment period. INDOT is encouraging the public to arrive early and ask questions before the presentation by project staff, who will also be available after the formal hearings.

The final selection of the build-design team is expected to be made after the June 8 public-comment deadline.

I-65 renovation project timeline

Summary of key events on the I-65 Southeast Indiana Project between Columbus and Seymour.

  • Preliminary work at State Road 58: Oct. 23 through Nov. 3, 2017.
  • Renovation of bridge crossing Denois Creek in Bartholomew County: April 9 through Sept 21, 2018.
  • Resurfacing of I-65 between State Road 46 and State Road 58 in Bartholomew County: May 6, 2019 through Sept. 16, 2019.
  • Renovation of State Road 11 overpass in northern Jackson County: April 1, 2019 through June 21, 2019.
  • Project completion: Aug. 17, 2020.
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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.