The Rockville Road Bridge and interchange ramps to Interstate 465 opened to a normal traffic pattern on Monday morning following nearly four months of work to replace a section of the bridge destroyed in an accident.
To celebrate completion of the project, the Indiana Department of Transportation and Rieth-Riley Construction waved checkered flags with Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles.
INDOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness praised the workers that responded to the crash on Jan. 10 that destroyed part of the bridge and closed northbound I-465. Rieth-Riley and Crackers Demo crews responded immediately and worked through the night to remove the damaged bridge deck and open the interstate in less than 30 hours.
“The best in people is often on display in the case of unforeseen circumstances, and that was certainly true in response to the damage to the Rockville Road bridge over I-465,” McGuinness said. “...To rebuild a bridge – a project that might otherwise take as long as six months – in about six weeks is extraordinary. I’m thrilled to be able to fully reopen this major thoroughfare to west side motorists – just in time for a busy month of May!”
The Indianapolis 500 and associated events bring an increase in traffic to Indianapolis' west side, especially on race day. INDOT says opening the bridge and interchange ramp as quickly as possible was a top priority for optimizing traffic flow and increasing public safety.
“INDOT and state and local law enforcement are key to providing safe traffic management support for events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and all over the State of Indiana,” Boles said. “So when we learned of the damage to the Rockville Road bridge, IMS staff was confident that everyone would pull together to get this critical access point repaired and fully functioning quickly and in time for our busiest season."
Watch a time-lapse video of the project:
About the bridge damage
At about 8 a.m. on Jan. 10, a mobile car crusher traveling on northbound I-465 crashed into the Rockville Road bridge and destroyed four of about 14 load-bearing girders.
After closing the interstate and the overpass to secure the location and assess damage, INDOT engineers determined the damaged girders would be removed. Rieth-Riley and Crackers mobilized immediately, working through the night to complete removal of the damaged beams and reopen the interstate at about 12:30 p.m. the next day, Jan. 11.
Since then, one lane of eastbound traffic on Rockville Road has been shifted across the median to share the undamaged westbound side of the bridge. The eastbound Rockville Road loop ramp to northbound I-465 has remained closed.
Now that construction is complete, all traffic restrictions will end and traffic will return to a normal pattern at the interchange today.
About the project
The U.S. 36 / Rockville Road bridge over I-465 was rebuilt in 2009 as part of the Accelerate 465 corridor project. Existing bridge plans were used to quickly reproduce four replacement beams, each weighing about 70 tons and measuring 125 feet long, which were installed on Feb. 27.
INDOT used an existing bridge maintenance and repair contract with Rieth-Riley to complete construction as quickly as possible. The on-call, or job-order, contract is designed for high-priority bridge repairs that are beyond what can typically be performed by INDOT’s in-house maintenance crews. The pilot program was launched in early 2016 and is intended to reduce project delivery time and costs.
INDOT says it is seeking reimbursement on behalf of taxpayers for damages to the bridge. Costs associated with the crash and repairs, are expected to exceed $1.2 million. Reimbursement may take some time since the damage to the Rockville Road bridge is more extensive than a typical INDOT claim.