INDIANAPOLIS | Region motorists traveling through Indianapolis should prepare alternate routes starting in August, as portions of two downtown interstate highways will be inaccessible for up to three months.
The Indiana Department of Transportation plans to close the shared Interstate 65 and Interstate 70 highway on the east side of downtown Indianapolis to lower the pavement under seven bridges that pass over the highway.
More than 400 trucks have struck those bridges since 1999, and the frequency of truck-bridge strikes has been increasing, according to INDOT.
The most serious incident occurred Feb. 22 when an oversize truck hit the Virginia Avenue bridge, requiring the weekend closure of northbound I-65 and eastbound I-70 for emergency bridge repairs.
The $15 million to $20 million project lowering the pavement under the bridges will result in a clearance of at least 14 feet 9 inches under all seven bridges — up from varying bridge heights of between 13 feet 11 inches and 14 feet 6 inches.
One additional bridge will be rebuilt in 2014 because the pavement beneath it cannot be lowered.
During construction, highway message boards will instruct drivers to detour using Interstate 465, which loops around Indianapolis.