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Indiana Commuters Need to Plan Ahead with I-65 Closure

Steve Wagner

Synopsis

  • I-65 commuters in Indy are currently running into an extensive bridge project that will leave parts of the downtown interstate closed for most of the summer months.
  • Thru August, I-65 southbound at the I-465 interchange on the northwest side of town and a stretch from 21st Street to Meridian Street through downtown will be shut down.
  • U.S. Census reports say statewide, Indiana workers have an average daily commute time of 22.5 minutes, which is shorter than the national average but no matter what minimal travel is required to get to work, commuters often face congested traffic backups and higher risk of collision because they spend more time on the road.
  • It’s extra important for commuters to keep their vehicles updated and maintained, and practice good driver behaviors like avoiding distraction, tailgating and speeding.

Commuters Dealing With I-65 Closures Need to Take Extra Caution

Over the years, Indy commuters have adapted to driving to work fairly well and accident rates vary from good to bad throughout different communities. Most serious issues arise when road projects interfere with already congested traffic. This summer, Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has begun work on an I-65 bridge project that is sure to impact daily commutes. The bridge repair and rebuild started with road closures around the Independence Day holiday and has now left parts of I-65 through downtown closed. INDOT has plans to repair seven bridges on I-65 southbound at the I-465 interchange on the northwest side of town and a stretch from 21st Street to Meridian Street through downtown. The roadwork is expected to be completed and streets and bridges back open this August.

INDOT has released these road closure updates for commuters:

  • From 21st Street to Meridian Street, all I-65 southbound traffic will be forced to exit at West 21st Street.
  • The northbound exit at Senate Avenue and West 21st Street will also be closed, but the northbound entrance to I-65 at West 21st Street will stay open.
  • Both the north and south exits at West Street will be closed as will the exit to Meridian Street.
  • The I-65 ramps at Pennsylvania Street and Delaware Street will remain open.
  • At the I-465 interchange on the northwest side, the southbound lanes at I-465 will be closed, but the northbound lanes and I-465 will remain open.

Indiana Workers Have Shorter Commute Times but Still Struggle with Higher Accident Risks

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, Indiana workers have an average daily commute time of 22.5 minutes. Indianapolis has the state’s highest average travel time for workers of 22.3 minutes; Fort Wayne is at 19.7 minutes and Evansville workers face just under 18-minute commutes. Other information relevant to commuters using Indiana roads includes:

  • 83.2 percent of the working population drive alone
  • 9 percent of the Indiana workforce carpool
  • 2 percent walk to work
  • 1.1 percent use public transportation
  • 0.4 percent ride a bicycle
  • 3.4 percent work at home

Although shorter than the national average, these Indiana drivers are still impacted by the hassle related to congested, daily drives. Issues related to distracted or impatient motor vehicle operators, delays and backups caused by road work or other accidents and broken-down vehicles can all make daily commutes an extra struggle. Here is a review from the car accident attorneys at Wagner Reese of what commuters can do to prepare for a safe drive to and from work.

  1. Expect delays and allow extra travel time to navigate known busy and congested areas. If possible, select alternate routes to avoid the backed-up zones completely. Alternate routes may be faster, less congested, and typically safer than driving in heavy traffic after a long day of work.
  2. Take extra care to pay attention and expect the unexpected. Traffic can change without notice and driver inattention remains the leading cause of all crashes.
  3. Distracted driving has become a crisis on all roadways. Don’t text or talk on the phone and avoid taking your hands off the wheel and eyes off the road.
  4. Watch for speed limit reductions. The higher your speed, for instance, the longer and more time it will take you to come to a complete stop. So, keep plenty of distance between you and other vehicles to help with reaction times. Speeding and aggressive driving are major causes of interstate crashes.
  5. Keep a safe distance on all sides of your vehicle and maintain an appropriate following distance. If you can’t see a car’s rear license plate, you are likely too close. Rear-end collisions are the most common type of interstate crash related to congested traffic patterns. Avoid a wreck by giving adequate space to the other drivers around you.
  6. When you’re stuck in traffic, it may be hard to avoid hitting someone who’s weaving through traffic and watch for pedestrians and bicyclists who may also be traveling in new, temporary routes. Again, keep out for increased crash risk factors between you and everyone else sharing the road.
  7. Respect construction vehicles, watch for workers and obey construction traffic signage. This signage may be giving accurate information and important warnings on what to expect ahead.

In general, be a more patient and calm driver during all commuter travel. Take a deep breath or pull over for a minute if you need to maintain your cool and do what you need to do to keep yourself and others safe from making rash, too aggressive driver decisions. Keep your focus on the road and what you’re doing, and you’ll be prepared for anything INDOT throws at you.

In addition, if you are a commuter considering buying a new vehicle to help with your daily travel, consider seeking out these safety features.

  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Lane Departure Warnings and Lane Keeping Assist
  • Traction Control
  • Blind Spot Detection
  • Automatic Braking
  • Pedestrian Detection
  • Tire Pressure Monitors
  • Rear-Cross Traffic Alert
  • Back-up Assist Cameras
  • Anti-lock Braking System
  • 360 Air Bags

Commuters who carry bad driver behaviors contribute to a significant number of roadway deaths and lifelong injuries to others. And since not every accident can be prevented, it remains important for all drivers to practice safe driving, at all times.

Injured During Interstate Road Repairs?

Commuters shouldn’t speed or make poor driving decisions because of road construction or projects that may impact their travel times. If they do, they only risk the chance of causing a tragic accident, especially within a traffic jam or limited road availability. If you have been injured in an accident this summer, the attorneys at Wagner Reese can assist you in recovering damages for your injury and subsequent medical bills.

Connect with us by submitting our online form and our attorneys will review your information. If you wish to speak directly with us, please call (888) 204-8440.

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