Open & shut

Crews are finishing paving, adding lane markings and putting up traffic signs along Worthsville Road so motorists who get off on a new Interstate 65 interchange won’t have to take detours or back roads to get into Greenwood.

While traffic backups still can be expected, Worthsville Road will have one lane in each direction open between U.S. 31 and the new I-65 interchange by next week.

Worthsville Road has been closed for about a year while crews widen the road and add lanes as part of a $20 million project. Motorists have had to take detours to Stop 18 Road as an alternative. But with the new interchange opening next week, city officials said they knew how important it was to open Worthsville Road between I-65 and U.S. 31 to help with the anticipated increase in traffic.

Currently, Worthsville Road is closed between U.S. 31 and Sheek Road and has been since last year. But, by next week, the city will reopen Worthsville Road, city engineer Mark Richards said.

But motorists still should expect to see some work continuing to finish the project, city officials said.

“We’re going to be working through the winter — weather permitting — and into the spring. There might be backups as you approach U.S. 31 from the new interchange. It may not be optimum, but it’s better than the last two years. Be patient and don’t get in a big rush,” Richards said.

As many as 15,000 vehicles per day could begin using the new interchange when it opens next week. The new interchange at Worthsville Road will help alleviate traffic congestion from the Main Street exit. Experts expect traffic at the Main Street exit will decrease by as much as 40 percent when motorists begin using the Worthsville Road exit, Richards said.

“It’s critical for us to have at least one lane open in each direction at the same time or prior to the interchange opening. We expect to have one lane in each direction open,” Richards said.

Sheek Road also has been closed north of Stop 18 Road, near Grassy Creek Lane, where a drain underneath the road had to be replaced. That construction also will be done next week, Richards said.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience for the amount of construction going on. It’s been a challenge, but once it’s done it will be a lot better.” Richards said.

Before the lanes can open, crews will have to finish placing signs along Worthsville Road and laying down markings for lane shifts. Crews also need to finish putting down pavement on sections of Worthsville Road that will be open to traffic, Richards said.

Motorists still can expect some lanes to be closed and some work to continue even after the new interchange opens.

Between Sheek Road and County Road 75E, the inside lane in each direction will be closed while crews complete work to the median curb that divides both sides of Worthsville Road.

The road will reopen to U.S. 31, but between that intersection and County Road 75E, both lanes of traffic will be on the westbound side of the road.

After crews finish installing the curb medians between U.S. 31 and Sheek Road, they’ll begin installing new traffic signals at the intersection of Worthsville Road and U.S. 31, Richards said.

After that, which will likely be completed just after winter, the final layers of pavement will be put down on Worthsville Road, Richards said.

“Worthsville Road is still going to be an active construction zone,” Richards said. “Once curb work is done and paving is complete, we should be able to open up all four lanes.”

Corey Elliot is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2719.