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INDOT: I-70 full closure saves months of work, millions of dollars amid ‘stay at home’ order

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The “stay at home” order is impacting hundreds of thousands of people’s day-to-day lives across the state as they are required to stay home as much as possible. It is also allowing construction crews with Indiana Department of Transportation to finish work quickly.

Fewer people on the roads mean crews can get ahead of schedule and save millions of dollars.

Interstate 70 eastbound and westbound from downtown to I-465 was supposed to be under construction for five months. Because INDOT has changed the project to a full closure, they are now expected to finish in 30 days.

At the start of construction season, INDOT did not plan on any full closures.

Canceled events and “stay at home” orders have impacted the city but shown positive results for road crews.

“There are a lot less people coming into our city right now so we decided to take advantage of that and get this work done while most people are at home,” said Mallory Duncan with INDOT.

Drivers would have otherwise faced construction on that portion of I-70 for the majority of the spring and summer.

“We had planned to do work on I-70 eastbound and westbound out on the east side of Indianapolis this whole entire construction season. So it was supposed to be a five-month-long project,” said Duncan.

When traffic dropped 40% during the week and 50 percent on the weekends due to the stay-at-home order INDOT decided to implement a full closure.

“It is hours and hours of work that we don’t have to do and our guys can concentrate on the road,” said Duncan.

INDOT is now able to save nearly $10 million and months of work by avoiding construction that is not part of the actual end product, like building crossover lanes for traffic.

“It takes a lot of time and money to do the maintenance traffic part of any sort of work zone. That’s the barrels. That’s the barrier wall. That is to keep our guys safe,” said Duncan.

With the end of the “stay at home” order still unclear for Hoosiers, INDOT is now considering the potential to convert other projects to full closures.

“We are looking at all of our options. If we can get some work done during the ‘stay at home’ order while our traffic counts are down we are definitely going to try to do that,” said Duncan.

I-70 westbound from downtown to I-465 will close Friday and is expected to re-open on May 22. The eastbound lanes are expected to open May 14.