Friday, August 14, 2015

Construction Work Blamed For I-65 Bridge Failure

Officials of the Indiana Department of Transportation identified the cause, the fix and estimated timeline to complete repairs that will allow a failing I-65 north-bound bridge in Tippecanoe County over Wildcat Creek. The cause of the bridge failure has been attributed to new construction work Walsh Construction was performing on the bridge as part of an $82.8 million road-widening and rehabilitation project. Here's how construction work caused the bridge supports to fail and cause the bridge to tilt:
Construction crews drove steel piles into nearby soils to widen the existing piers and sheet piling to work below the Wildcat Creek waterline.
The piles pierced the water-tight soils to a sandy layer with water under pressure. Sand and/or water percolated up from beneath the bridge pier, causing it to tilt. Structural engineers monitoring the riverbank pier noticed the pier settling and tilting, and ordered the bridge closed on Aug. 7 in the interests of safety.
Here's how the repairs will be made to restore the structural integrity of the bridge:
Engineers and soils experts with INDOT, Walsh and the Federal Highway Administration have identified the solution is to install high-strength, small-diameter steel casings with rods and grout, known as micropiles, through the footers of the existing pier and deep into the soil. Micropiles have been used effectively to stabilize other bridge piers around the country.
The bad news is that it will take at least until mid-September for the repairs to be completed, resulting in a more than one month closure of that section of the northbound lanes of I-65. The 9-mile detour adds about 25 minutes to the northbound commute.  INDOT does not know yet how much the repairs will cost and who is accountable for the cost of those repairs.


Eric Morris said...

Would this have happened next to Lucas Oil or Bankers Life, which lack the ubiquitous potholes in much of the rest of the state?

Anonymous said...

Why does INDOT insist on a ridiculous detour when all they have to do is build those little crossovers and make the SB bridge one lane each direction until the repairs are done? This isn't rocket science. Such methodologies are used successfully in 49 other states and even some third world countries, but apparently are too much for INDOT to handle. There's one of those programable signs on 70 out by the airport that tells people to take 74 to 57 and go to Chicago that way. Why not just have them connect through Atlanta?

Anonymous said...

529 the southbound bridge is not currently wide enough to handle northbound traffic. Also I heard a rumor the southbound bridge is showing signs of movement too.

Sir Hailstone said...

Anyone realize the length of backups when I-65 is restricted to a single lane? over 10 miles! Plus as 10:44 stated - the southbound bridge is next to the bridge with the structural problem.

I-74 to I-57 isn't that big of a detour - less time than going US52/SR28/US231. Actually SR63/US41 is a pretty good road and usually not a whole lot of traffic on it.