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Adam Wason
Director of Department of Public Works
City of Bloomington
wasona@bloomington.in.gov
812-349-3410; or

Kirk White
Assistant Vice President for Engagement
Indiana University
krwhite@iu.edu
812-855-6191
 

INDOT Announces I-69 Section 5 Delays Impacting IU Move-In Week and Beyond


Bloomington, Ind. - Construction related to the completion of I-69 Section 5 will continue to pose challenges for motorists in and around Bloomington through the remaining months of calendar year 2018, according to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT).  The state agency presented the update Friday, August 10 to the Bloomington/Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), the entity tasked with creating transportation plans for the area and for budgeting the available federal funds.

Although the target date for “substantial completion” of Section 5 was August 31, that milestone will not be achieved, and the highway will continue to be an active construction zone for several weeks after that date, according to INDOT’s report.  Having invested in an accelerated schedule of 16-hour days and six-day work weeks, the agency assures the public that it is making “every effort” to facilitate flow during student move-in week. Motorists on State Road 37 may nonetheless encounter congestion August 13-17, as new and returning residents negotiate ongoing construction.    

“After years of continuing delays, we were hoping for better news from INDOT,” said Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton. “We would have hoped for the substantial completion by August 31, which we learned last week will not be accomplished. But our road-weary community deserves -- at least -- a realistic expectation of when I-69 will be fully functional, with the reduced travel times the Interstate’s proponents promised. We will expect and share regular progress reports from the state as they put the finishing touches on Section 5.”

During move-in week, four lanes (two northbound and two southbound) will be open to traffic on mainline SR 37 from south of Fullerton Pike to a point between Sample Road and Chambers Pike. However, traffic will remain in single lane configuration both northbound and southbound from just south of Chambers Pike to Indian Creek, where paving operations are continuing. Even where four lanes are open, the speed limit throughout the construction zone remains 45 miles per hour for the foreseeable future.

“The completion of I-69 will soon provide a safer corridor that connects the IU campus and the state,” said Kirk White, Indiana University Assistant Vice President for Engagement. “While construction continues we urge the university community to plan ahead, be patient and allow extra travel time. Consider using a navigation app, such as Google Maps or Waze, to view current traffic and construction and plan the best route to campus.”

While the state is working to accommodate the seasonal influx of motorists into Bloomington by opening additional lanes this week, construction will continue to impact traffic in the area well past the original target date of August 31.  According to an August 13 press release from INDOT, lane restrictions on the Second Street (SR 45) and Third Street (SR 48) overpasses to allow for pouring and finishing concrete median islands could cause delays at both interchanges, where signal equipment improvements will disrupt traffic at night through mid-October.  Drainage work, installation of guardrails, lighting, fencing and non-regulatory signs, shoulder improvements, landscaping, and maintenance of traffic activity will continue along Section 5 through the end of the year.

Additionally, INDOT has accelerated a ramp repair project at SR 46/SR 37 originally slated for completion next year.  Starting in mid-September, the intersection construction could limit traffic to a single lane for eight weeks, according to INDOT’s August 10 presentation to the MPO. INDOT announced at that time that it will coordinate with IU Athletics during the football season to mitigate the congestion this proposed lane restriction would pose during home games.

“Working as a unit to develop a plan for managing infrastructure needs is paramount to keeping motorists safe and reducing travel time,” said president of the Monroe County Commissioners Amanda Barge.  “I-69 construction delays have shown us that the need has never been greater to develop more coordination with construction projects between government entities.”

As for this week, state officials welcome those arriving in Bloomington for “what will be the last move-in week hampered by I-69 Section 5 construction,” according to their press release.

“Local public safety agencies will coordinate Bloomington move-in traffic at IU’s public safety operations center,” said White. “For traffic and parking updates, follow Indiana University and the IU Police Department-Bloomington on Facebook and @IUBloomington on Twitter. IUPD will also be posting Bloomington-specific updates on Waze.”


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