The Link Between The I-65 Bridge Closure And The State Street Redesign

Aug 10, 2015

INDOT Commissioner Brandye Hendrickson says Walsh's construction work may have been a factor in the bridge sinking.
Credit Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA

INDOT is examining whether Walsh Construction’s actions may have played a factor in last week’s I-65 bridge closing.

INDOT Bridge Design Manager Jeremy Hunter says the sinking of the bridge that led to last week’s second closure came after Walsh inspectors deemed the bridge safe for travel.

“When we talked to Walsh, they had surveyed the pier and hadn’t recorded any settlement that we knew of at that time,” Hunter says. “And so, between the time that we installed those temporary supports and the time we closed the bridge on Friday, there had been substantial settlement.”

In the few days the bridge was open, it sank some nine inches into the ground. Walsh, the lead contractor on an expansion of I-65 in Tippecanoe County, is also a candidate to win an approximately $80 million bid to lead West Lafayette’s redevelopment of State Street.

West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis says he doesn’t think the bridge snafu will impact Walsh’s bid, though.

“That really doesn’t distress me at all. Walsh is a nationally, possibly even internationally, known company,” Dennis says. “Their reputation is stellar and they’re a very, very strong contender for the State Street project.”

Reached by phone Monday afternoon, Walsh officials declined comment.