A main east-west route that had been expected to reopen this year will remain closed through the winter.
In August, city officials announced that no lanes of Worthsville Road would be completed this year between U.S. 31 and the railroad tracks, but at least two lanes would be open the rest of the way to Interstate 65. But a cold snap in November brought asphalt and concrete work to a halt, and soil needed for the project was too wet to be used.
Now, Greenwood won’t be able to reopen any of the road between the railroad tracks and Sheek Road, city engineer Mark Richards said. And the state is closing the overpass over Interstate 65 this week, which will be demolished in preparation for a new interchange slated for construction next year.
The only portion of Worthsville Road that will be open this winter is between Sheek Road and the newly rebuilt County Road 200E. That section, which is open, will allow drivers to get in and out of Clark-Pleasant Middle School throughout winter.
The city had hoped to have all four lanes open to traffic between the railroad tracks and Sheek Road, where workers are widening the road, by the end of the year. But they ran out of time, Richards said.
“We’re going to have to keep the current traffic flow over the winter,” he said. “The asphalt plants are shutting down for winter.”
Bad weather is to blame for the delays on Worthsville Road, Richards said. Polar air that hit central Indiana in mid-November stalled the project because workers couldn’t lay asphalt or do concrete work when temperatures weren’t above 32 degrees, Richards said.
Area asphalt plants are shutting down, and Greenwood has more work left than it can squeeze in this week before the plants close, Richards said. Workers are finishing up concrete curbs by using an additive to allow the concrete to set in colder temperatures. After that they would need to drop, compact and grade soil before they could lay asphalt, but the dirt is too wet to work with, he said.
In the spring, workers should be able to finish the paving and have those lanes open in that section within about two to three weeks.
Greenwood is slightly behind schedule for the two-year widening project, with about 40 to 45 percent of the work complete, Richards estimated. Next year, construction crews will need to build all four lanes from U.S. 31 to the railroad tracks, complete paving from the tracks to Sheek Road, finish the roundabout at Sheek Road and add two lanes from the roundabout to I-65.
“We’re a little bit behind, but I think we still have an opportunity to have the work done and have it reopened by the end of next year. I haven’t heard anything otherwise. At this point we’re sticking with that completion date,” Richards said.
The state will build the new I-65 interchange next year in tandem with the widening work Greenwood has to finish.
The overpass will be torn down this winter, and workers can start building the new bridge while the weather is still cold, Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman Harry Maginity said. Once temperatures warm up in the spring, crews will realign Graham Road on the east side of the overpass and begin building off-ramps.
The Worthsville Road overpass across I-65 will be shut down this winter as state workers begin demolishing the bridge. Tracy Road is expected to be reopened this week after workers finished pouring new concrete on the overpass, which will be a detour for traffic over the interstate and will allow the demolition on Worthsville Road to begin, Maginity said.
“(Tracy Road) is ready. It just has to complete the cure, and they have to get the stripes on it,”
Another section of Worthsville Road won’t be ready to reopen this winter. Cold temperatures and rain stalled the project, and now workers won’t be able finish paving before asphalt plants close. Here’s the status of each section:
U.S. 31 to railroad tracks
Closed until fall 2015
Status: Greenwood didn’t expect to have this section open due to utility delays earlier in the year. In 2015, workers will need to build all four lanes in this area.
Railroad tracks to Sheek Road
Closed for winter
Status: The city wanted to get all four lanes open by the end of the year but ran into delays due to cold weather. Greenwood will not reopen this section this winter. Paving work on all four lanes should be completed in about two to three weeks when workers can start again in spring.
Sheek Road intersection
Status: Drivers will be able use the north and east legs of the intersection, but the south and west legs will remain closed. The city had planned to open the north entrance and close the other three this winter but can’t because the middle section of Worthsville Road isn’t being reopened.
Sheek Road to County Road 200E
Open for winter
Status: Two lanes are open and will be remain open for winter. Workers will need to complete two more lanes in 2015. Drivers can use this section to access Clark-Pleasant Middle School.
Closed until fall 2015
Status: State workers are preparing to demolish the overpass. The new interchange will be built in 2015, so this section is expected to remain closed until the end of next year.