Transportation and Infrastructure

Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA News

Indiana Department of Transportation officials now say two main factors led to last week’s failure of an I-65 bridge in Tippecanoe County: an artesian well under the bridge piers and the construction going on to expand the bridge at the time the pier sank into the ground.

INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield says work done between the re-opening of the bridge last Wednesday and its second closure Friday may have led to the structure’s failure.

INDOT

11:00 a.m. Monday Update:

INDOT officials have scheduled a media briefing for this afternoon to give an update on the bridge closure that's snarled I-65 traffic for several days. WBAA will attend and will provides updates both here and during All Things Considered newscasts this afternoon. 

2:30 p.m. Sunday Update:

INDOT spokeswoman Debbie Calder says residents of Greater Lafayette can still use I-65 northbound by getting on from either SR 43 or SR 25.

INDOT

Indiana Department of Transportation officials say work has begun on an Interstate 65 bridge over Wildcat Creek, in hopes of reopening the road by Thursday.

INDOT spokeswoman Debbie Calder says the steel INDOT had fabricated for the task Tuesday evening arrived on scene early Wednesday afternoon. She says workers will spend the overnight hours installing it. But she says estimates of when on Thursday the northbound lanes of the road might be reopened are still vague.

The road was closed Tuesday after workers noticed unusual shaking during a project to expand the bridge.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Indiana has a new contract in place securing the future of the Hoosier State Rail Line for the next two years. 

The deal between the state, Amtrak and Iowa Pacific began Sunday after months of negotiation and uncertainty. 

Amtrak will operate the line running from Indianapolis to Chicago, while Iowa Pacific will be responsible for train equipment and maintenance.  The line will feature food service and free wi-fi internet.

If ticket sales don’t cover all expenses, Indiana will pay Amtrak the difference. 

Jimmy Emerson / https://www.flickr.com/photos/auvet/4716903349

Indiana drivers are discovering legislators were serious about a new law ordering drivers not to block the left lane.

State Police spokesman Todd Ringle estimates troopers handed out more than 100 warnings in the first six days of the law for staying in the left lane with other cars trailing the lead vehicle.

He says those warnings are going to the most blatant violators -- he says he pulled over one driver who moved into the left lane to be ready for a turnoff that was four miles away. And he says he believes the statute is enforceable as written.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

The casual rider of the Hoosier State Line probably didn’t expect any changes on July 1 as an Amtrak-branded engine and set of cars rolled through Lafayette on its way to Chicago.

But instead of the red, blue and gray Amtrak paint job, passengers were supposed to see the brown and orange paint job of Iowa Pacific rolling stock.

Andy Castro / https://www.flickr.com/photos/andycastro/2548898515

The speed limit on most interstate highways in Indiana is 70 miles per hour, but that number will soon vary in at least one location.

That’s because the Indiana Department of Transportation is experimenting with using electronic signs to vary speed limits based on traffic patterns or the incidence of road work.

The first signs will go up on I-65 between Edinburgh and Franklin, where road crews are currently patching and resurfacing the roadway.

INDOT spokesman Harry Maginity says speed limits there will be adjusted based on how well traffic is moving.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Indiana Department of Transportation officials say they don’t know when the Hoosier State Amtrak line will transition to operation by Iowa Pacific, but they do know it won’t be this week.

INDOT and Iowa Pacific officials had been working to make the switch on July first, but contracts between the state, the company and the cities served by the line haven’t been finalized yet.

Senate Finance Committee

In 2005, Mitch Daniels brokered the Major Moves deal -- leasing the Indiana toll-road for $3.8 billion for 75 years.  He told a Senate committee looking for infrastructure improvement ideas Thursday the public-private partnership was a high point of his term.

"It was a great joy of public service to watch literally the dreams of decades, become real.  Project after project of people saying 'that’ll never happen' are in being in Indiana," Daniels said.

John Romero / https://www.flickr.com/photos/romerospics/16982939275

The P-47 Thunderbolt is clear for takeoff as Indiana’s new official state aircraft. Legislators unanimously voted during this year’s session to honor the only World War II aircraft manufactured in Indiana -- a decision that goes into effect next week.

Retired Brigadier General Stewart Goodwin, executive director of the Indiana War Memorials Commission, says Thunderbolts were popular because of their versatility.

"This was an aircraft that was built to be rugged, to carry a lot of weight, yet it also had the speed to be an escort," Goodwin says. 

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