By Sabrina Westfall
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announced the closure of State Road 61 through Monroe City will begin after school is out for the summer.
The first phase of the construction for the $3.5 million road reconstruction project will begin at the Five Points intersection near the Blue Jeans Center up to 9th Street. Phase II will close the area on SR 61 just north of 9th Street to 6th Street. The final phase will close just north of 6th Street to the SR 241 intersection.
INDOT Media Relations Coordinator Cher Elliott stressed the importance of waiting for the current school year at South Knox to end before the closure begins.
“We realize what an impact this is going to be, not only just to the motoring public, but to the school officials as well. So, we waited for that time for them to be able to close the road,” Elliott said.
Elliott explained the work will include installing a storm water system to address issues in the area.
“The biggest part that we will be doing on this contract is installing a major storm water drainage system throughout Monroe City. There has always been some drainage issues and there has been some intermittent fixes, but now we’ve decided that this is what we’ve decided will actually solve the issue,” Elliott explained in an on-site interview Tuesday afternoon.
Elliott said the road will have to be closed during construction to ensure proper installation and safety of the workers.
“It’s a major line under the roadway and in order to install it properly and protect the employees while they are out there working and installing this structure, we are actually going to have to close the road to traffic. Of course, that is to through traffic. Locals will have access up to the point of closure, as will emergency vehicles as well,” Elliott said.
This closure will impede commuter traffic, Elliott said, but a suggested detour will be put in place. During the time of the road closure, the detour will include State Road 241, US 50 and SR 57.
“And then of course we also mark a detour, which is our route that we want traffic to take while this closure is taking place. That will be utilizing State Road 57 up to US 50 then taking State Road 241 from Wheatland back here to Monroe City,” Elliott said. “Of course, locally, those who live around the area will be able to manipulate around those closure points on city streets.”
The time frame of the closure is going to rely a lot on how quickly the large structure can be placed. Elliott noted the strucutre will be built in three sections.
Construction of the first segment will close the road for about 20 days, and work will continue north on SR 61. Weather and other underlying factors will determine the length of time until the project is complete.
“Right now we are hopeful we will be able to get it all installed in 2014, but again this crazy winter weather we’ve had the last few months — who knows?” Elliott said.
Find the latest information about road closures through the INDOT TrafficWise Traveler Information Service at www.trafficwise.in.gov or follow INDOT on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/VincennesDistrict) or Twitter (@INDOTSouthwest).