State planning to widen interstate


Interstate 65 between Seymour and Columbus will be widened to six lanes in a $143 million project that is expected to begin this year.

The I-65 Southeast Indiana Project will widen the interstate from two lanes to three lanes for both northbound and southbound traffic along a 14.25-mile stretch between U.S. 50 in Seymour and State Road 58 in Columbus, said Harry Maginity, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation Seymour District office.

Interstate pavement along this stretch would be removed down to the subgrade, along with shoulder work done in both directions, Maginity said. Widening to six lanes would also impact bridges and drainage culverts along the 14.25 miles, he said.

INDOT has invited three Indiana construction companies to submit proposals for this best-value project, a relatively new concept the state is using in seeking out road-design and road-building partners, Maginity said.

The best-value approach, which INDOT also is using for the widening of Interstate 69 between Fishers and Pendleton, sets a contract amount and asks contractors to propose what work they are willing to include in order to win the contract, he said.

Maginity said INDOT would like the I-65 variable-scope project between Seymour and Columbus to also include new interstate message boards along the six-lane stretch.

Additionally as part of the $143 million contract, Maginity said INDOT would like contractors to make I-65 improvements further north, between the two Columbus exits at State Road 58 and State Road 46, including:

-Patching and resurfacing this 4.6-mile stretch.
-Refurbishing a number of I-65 bridges, removing the driving surface and applying a new one.
-Rehabilitation and deck replacement of an I-65 bridge over Denois Creek, between Deaver Road and County Road 200 South.

INDOT is committing to this road reconstruction project in order to improve mobility in the region, the agency states in its outline of the I-65 Southeast Indiana Project.

Using the best-value approach is in the best interest of Indiana taxpayers, the INDOT project outline said.

The three construction companies invited to submit proposals are:

-Milestone Contractors L.P., which has six principal offices in Indiana, including Columbus.
-Rieth-Riley Construction Co. Inc., based in Goshen.
-E & B Paving Inc., of Anderson.

Responses from the firms’ highway design and construction teams are due to INDOT by April 27, Maginity said.

After the proposals are reviewed, INDOT expects to notify the preferred contractor by May 25, with a selection made in early June, he said.

While some of the needed I-65 works could be started this year, Maginity said he did not expect major construction to occur before 2018.

Several of the companies invited to submit proposals for the work between Seymour and Columbus have talked to a Columbus property owner at the State Road 58 exit about leasing land for a temporary asphalt-building plant, with the leasing timetable through Sept. 30, 2020, coinciding with the expected I-65 construction period.

INDOT used this same best-value approach with a $92 million project to widen and rehabilitate 15 miles of I-69 in Hamilton and Madison counties, adding a travel lane in each direction.

That project, awarded to Milestone Contractors, was one of the first to use the best-value approach in awarding the contract, said Nathan Riggs, INDOT spokesman for the Greenfield District. That work on I-69 — which includes rebuilding an interchange at Noblesville — began in the spring of last year and is expected to be completed by late this year, Riggs said.

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