Transportation and Infrastructure

Kenneth Spencer / https://www.flickr.com/photos/kendo26/5606710714

Crawfordsville’s mayor is organizing an informal social media campaign to put pressure on railroad operator CSX to pay more attention to the city.

Mayor Todd Barton, speaking Thursday on WBAA’s Ask The Mayor, encouraged Crawfordsville residents to phone CSX to complain about trains clogging intersections in the city.

But he says the idea of an angry phone call may be passé.

Ryan Griffis / https://www.flickr.com/photos/grifray/195738091/

Indiana and the U.S. are seeing an uptick in traffic deaths in the first half of the year.

The National Safety Council says fatalities are up 14-percent nationwide. Indiana's 356 deaths represent a 23-percent increase, and the highest six-month total in three years.

Chris Goldberg / https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisgold/5256004891/

Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen took to Facebook to vent about a dangerous intersection that’s getting heavy traffic as the official detour around a closed bridge on I-65 near Lafayette. His post was prompted by a fatal accident that killed a Lebanon woman Tuesday morning.

Nielsen wants the Indiana Department of Transportation to install a stoplight at the intersection of US-52 and State Road 47.

INDOT

4:30 p.m. Update:

INDOT now expects the bridge to be closed until mid-September.

The preliminary fix is to drive steel casings through the existing pier footings and deep into the soil.

But INDOT Deputy Commissioner Bob Alderman says that’s similar to the same process that caused the bridge to be unsafe – workers sinking a beam into an artesian well during last week’s construction work.

Alderman says water started pumping from the well into the ground around the bridge.

Mike Demers / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mdd/9890957405/

Governor Pence is dismissing charges by opponents that the closure of a bridge on I-65 near Lafayette is a result of neglected maintenance.

Pence says the bridge over Tippecanoe County’s Wildcat Creek was scheduled for replacement next spring. But while engineers are still trying to determine exactly why the bridge sank several inches into the ground, Pence says INDOT's tentative conclusion is that other construction work caused the bridge to settle.

He says engineers are studying whether erosion around an underground aquifer may have played a role as well.

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.”

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. 

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