After a year of construction, a much anticipated new entrance to Greenwood from Interstate 65 could open in a little more than a week.
Construction of the I-65 interchange at Worthsville Road should be completed by Friday, and it could open to traffic as soon as Nov. 23, said Harry Maginity, Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman.
Rain during the summer slowed and even halted construction for several days. But crews have worked days, nights and weekends to complete construction.
The original two-lane bridge has been demolished, the new four-lane overpass constructed, a pedestrian trail in the median of the interpass has been built, and interstate signs are posted.
Crews are programming and installing the traffic signals at each side of the bridge for traffic entering the interstate and crossing over the bridge and along Worthsville Road, and putting down the final layer of pavement and then permanent lane markings.
“This project is very, very close to being on schedule,” Maginity said. “The contract was to have it completed the Friday before Thanksgiving, and we’re really happy with where we are.”
The road could still open while crews finish minor projects, Maginity said. During the next week, lanes will be closed at night while barrier walls are taken down and guardrails are added. The areas between entrance and exit ramps also need to have grass laid down, but that work wouldn’t impact traffic.
The $16 million interchange will be the second in Indiana to use the diverging diamond design. The only other diverging diamond design is in Fort Wayne, which was modified from an existing exit. The Worthsville interchange will be the first constructed from scratch, Maginity said.
The interchange design eliminates left turns, making the intersection safer, by having drivers briefly cross over to the other side of a divided road before getting onto the interstate ramps or continuing straight.
“The design has enhanced safety in Fort Wayne,” Maginity said. “It’s a beautiful project.”
Utility crews were installing power to traffic signals this week. The interchange couldn’t be opened without the traffic signals being installed first because of the design, which will be new to motorists.
For now, no plans have been made to have police assisting with traffic flow on and off of the interchange during the first week it’s opened, though it could be a possibility, Maginity said.
The state is planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Nov. 23, where Indiana Department of Transportation, state officials and Greenwood city officials will celebrate the opening of the new interchange. The goal is to open the interchange to traffic after the ceremony. But if it is not ready, it will open before Thanksgiving, Maginity said.
“We want to get it going as soon as we can. Designers, contractors — we’re all excited and very happy we’re going to finish this relatively on time,” Maginity said.
- Motorists should expect night time lane closures during the next week while crews remove barrier walls along Interstate 65 at the new interchange.
- Traffic signals will be installed over the weekend for Worthsville Road traffic on the new bridge and interchange ramps.
- A final layer of pavement is being put down on interchange ramps during the next several days.
- Permanent lane markings will then be added to Worthsville Road and the interchange on and off ramps.
- A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for Nov. 23, with the interchange planned to open shortly after.
Information about diverging diamond interchanges, including an animated video about how they operate, is available at in.gov/indot/3259.htm/.