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I-64 interchange at Edwardsville to see some major changes in 2009


$7.5-million project will feature additional lanes, lengthening of Exit 118 ramps



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Pictured above is an eastbound aerial photo of the 1-64, S.R. 64 and S.R. 62 interchange. The parts in white with arrows indicate where construction will take place and how it will look. (Photo Courtesy of the Indiana Department of Transportation)
October 01, 2008
Last Tuesday, Sept. 23, at Highland Hills Middle School near Georgetown, representatives from the Indiana Department of Transportation and engineering firm Beam, Longest and Neff presented the proposed $7.5-million construction project for the interchange between Interstate 64, S.R. 64 and S.R. 62 in Edwardsville.

The project, detailed mostly by BLN's Jim Johnson, will include the lengthening of the ramp lanes for Exit 118 from both directions on I-64 as well as the widening of the 118 off-ramp on west I-64 to make room for two right turn lanes and one left turn lane onto S.R. 64. The eastbound on-ramp will also be widened to provide a dual merging lane onto I-64.

Additional widening will also take place on the section of westbound S.R. 64 from West Knable Road to the southeast ramp intersection to allow for two left turn lanes onto eastbound I-64 as well as the section of West Knable Road from the intersection with S.R. 64 to the back entrance of Thriftway to allow for two left turning lanes onto eastbound S.R. 64 and to make it easier for larger vehicles, such as semis, to make the right turn onto West Knable.

Other parts of the plan include the lowering of the part of S.R. 64 beneath the I-64 bridge to provide better clearance for larger vehicles. Johnson said his firm noticed a few nicks in the beams of the bridge during its survey.

While there will be no new traffic lights added, all existing lights will be coordinated to provide a more efficient traffic flow and a left green arrow will be added to each light to reduce the wait for left turns currently made by yielding to on-coming traffic on green.

INDOT and BLN also took into account the number of accidents caused by people driving into the ditch along westbound S.R. 64 in front of the Shell station at West Knable Road. The construction will include a shallowing of this ditch and the implementing of a box culvert that will run the length of the construction section of eastbound S.R. 64.

When asked by one man in attendance why the firm's plan did not include a clover-leaf design to prevent people from running the traffic lights between on and off-ramps, Johnson made it clear that the original plan for $12 million was reduced to $7.5 million due to the fact that they found a way to improve traffic conditions without acquiring any commercial or residential property or increasing the right-of-ways of the highway. While a clover leaf design would have prevented would-be light-runners, Johnson said, it would have required property acquisition and more time for construction, which would have meant an increased budget. Johnson said that it was his firm's job to make traffic flow as efficient as possible in the most economic way.

Many in attendance voiced concerns about the right turns onto westbound S.R. 64 from the I-64 off ramp. The overall consensus was that having a yield sign for that turn was not effective in stopping people from completely running the red light and cutting off westbound traffic. Johnson said this issue could be fixed with a "No Right Turn on Red" sign at the location.

The project has already made it through the environmental phase, which was presented by BLN associate Trevor Wieseke, and the survey found that the project would be a "categorical exclusion," meaning that extensive surveying and assessment found that the proposed project would cause no detrimental effects to land use, air quality, water quality, etc.

The design phase of the project is set to be done by February with construction beginning sometime around June and ending by the end of the 2009 construction season. The construction will be done in phases to ensure that "access to all interchange ramps, businesses and residences shall be maintained at all times during construction." There will only be one temporary closure of West Knable Road for 10 days, but a detour will be provided.

Another project was announced at the end of the presentation that will deal with the nearby Tunnel Hill Road and S.R. 64 intersection. That separate project will add turn lanes on both sides of the highway and is scheduled to begin in 2012.

Even though the meeting was meant to deal specifically with the interchange of I-64, S.R. 64 and S.R. 62, many in attendance brought forth issues concerning other parts of S.R. 64. One such issue was the need for a traffic light at the Oaks Road and S.R. 64 intersection. Johnson was not aware of the issue at Oaks Road since his firm was dealing exclusively with the interchange project and so he recommended those in attendance address their concerns with INDOT.

Floyd County Planner Don Lopp was in the audience and spoke up to inform those at the meeting that the county was in the process of trying to obtain warrants for traffic lights at Oaks Road and Corydon-Ridge Road.

For questions or comments about the proposed project, contact INDOT representative Aimee Kindred at akindred@indot.in.gov.

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