Indiana's I-70/US 27 Interchange Upgrade Progresses Quickly

Story by Tom Hale | September 28, 2010

Following groundbreaking in July, construction has quickly sprung into high gear for the new Interstate 70 interchange with U.S. 27 at Richmond, Ind. This eastern Indiana project is one of many ongoing projects in Indiana being fueled by the state's Major Moves program, which is designed to fully fund nearly $12 billion in highway construction projects through 2015.

Milestone Contractors, L.P. is rebuilding and upgrading the I-70/U.S. 27 interchange and making improvements to U.S. 27 under a $28-million contract with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT). Heading the I-70/U.S. 27 project for Milestone are Scott Decker, construction manager; Brad Likens, project superintendent; and Dennis Crawford, bridge superintendent. Derek Merida is Milestone's general bridge superintendent.

Key subcontractors to Milestone for the Richmond project are E & B Paving Inc., Anderson, Ind.; C-Tech Corp., Boggstown, Ind.; Drainage Construction Unlimited, Greenfield, Ind.; James H. Drew Corp., Indianapolis; NES Traffic Safety, Lafayette, Ind.; Sims & Pedigo Co., Bloomington, Ind.; Site Tech, Lewisville, Ind.; and Specialties Inc., Fort Wayne, Ind.

The goal of the project — scheduled for completion in mid-2008 — is to dramatically improve safety and mobility for thousands of motorists who drive on I-70 and U.S. 27 each day. During the project's initial phases, work is taking place on both sides of the I-70 overpass, and U.S. 27 north of I-70 is being widened to four through lanes with a center turn lane to just past Arba Pike. And additional construction will extend the added U.S. 27 travel lanes north to Tingler Road. New bridges over the Whitewater River for both I-70 and U.S. 27 are being built, and nearby local roads are being relocated to allow more spacing for interstate ramps.

Construction crews are currently working seven days a week, with some nighttime work, according to Jeff Bunch, labor foreman for Milestone.

The focal point of the project is constructing the new I-70/U.S. 27 interchange, with extensive construction planned for 2007. "Most of the earthwork and roadwork for the interchange will start next spring," says Dave Gruell, project supervisor for INDOT's Greenfield District office.

The new I-70/U.S. 27 interchange will replace one of the oldest interchanges in Indiana. Built in 1959, the current interchange is a partial cloverleaf, with stop signs on the exit ramps — a design long abandoned after 50 years of interstate building. Crews will replace the partial cloverleaf with a single-point interchange, one of the first to be built in Indiana.

Decker points out that Milestone built the state's two other single-point interchanges — one at I-465 and Emerson Avenue in Indianapolis, and the other at the S.R. 46/I-65 interchange in Columbus, Ind.

The new interchange at Richmond will feature an expanded bridge over I-70, bringing traffic turning left off interstate ramps into the center of the bridge — improving travel times. "Traffic is a problem here," says David Sipes, project control for Milestone. "You wouldn't think this little interchange would get that much traffic, but it is heavily traveled."

In developing plans for the new interchange, INDOT notes that businesses and other properties adjacent to the existing interchange posed a unique challenge to designers. The innovative use of a single-point urban interchange eliminates the need for large cloverleaf ramps, allowing nearby businesses to stay in place. Improved traffic flow at the interchange will encourage local residents and interstate traffic to visit nearby businesses.

Milestone Making Its Mark

A fully integrated highway, heavy construction and site development general contractor, Milestone Contractors, L.P. is providing construction services primarily within Indiana. Milestone's principal offices are located in Indianapolis, Lafayette, Columbus, and Richmond.

The total amount of active Milestone contracts in INDOT's Greenfield District (east central Indiana) is $92 million. In addition to the I-70/U.S. 27 project, Milestone is busy reconstructing S.R. 1 in Farmland (in Randolph County) between the north and south junctions of S.R. 32. This $8.2-million project, set for completion in mid-2008, "involves a total reconstruction of downtown Farmland, with new water and storm lines," Sipes says.

Milestone is also constructing another Major Moves project in Wayne County — upgrading U.S. 40 through Dublin, Mt. Auburn and Cambridge City. This $7.8-million project will also continue through mid-2008.