For the next month, getting from Indianapolis to Chicago is not going to be easy for highway travelers, including truckers.
The Indiana Department of Transportation estimates it will be mid-September before a 50-mile northbound section of I-65 between Lebanon and Lafayette, Indiana, is reopened. Southbound lanes remain open, but northbound drivers are being rerouted.
InDOT said, "Structural engineers monitoring the I-65 northbound bridge over Wildcat Creek noticed a riverbank pier settling and tilting, and ordered the bridge closed Aug. 7 in the interests of safety." It estimates about 8,000 trucks had been using that bridge daily.
Hourlong delays on the detour route are devastating to truckers, said Barbara Hunt of the Indiana Motor Truck Association. "It adds hours of service for the trucking companies and causes delays for the shippers and receivers,” she told the Indianapolis Star.
About 290 million tons of freight worth $281 billion are hauled by semitrailer trucks on Indiana highways each year, Michael J. Hicks, professor of economics and business research at Ball State University, told the Lafayette Journal & Courier. Indiana ranks ninth in the nation in the amount of commodities moved, Hicks said.
INDOT is recommending the following routing options for large trucks that are in the vicinity of the I-65 bridge closure in Indiana:
For northbound interstate traffic: The official detour is to take U.S. 52 north off of I-65; then turn west onto Indiana State Road 28. At the intersection with US 231, head north toward Wolcott.
Other alternate routes being recommended by Indianapolis and Lafayette media:
Traffic heading to Chicago, take Interstate 74 to Interstate 57 in Champaign, then north to the city.
Another route to Chicago: Take I-74 to U.S. 41 and then straight north.
Traffic to Greater Lafayette from Indianapolis: Take I-74 to Indiana 25 at Waynetown, then head north to Lafayette’s south side.
If you're heading from Indianapolis to the east side of Greater Lafayette, consider: Exit on Indiana 39 at Lebanon and head north to Frankfort. Go west on Indiana 28 to Mulberry/Jefferson Road. Follow that to Indiana 38 through Mulberry and into Lafayette.