Approaching Challenges with Innovation on the I-65 / I-70 North Split Project
The I-65 / I-70 North Split interchange was built nearly 50 years ago, is operating at full capacity and is at the end of its useful life. The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) solicited and accepted proposals from three qualified construction teams to rebuild the I-65 / I-70 North Split Project in the spring of 2020. Superior Construction (Superior) was selected to be the preferred proposer based on a very detailed review of their design and proposal.
The North Split project has a lot of unique challenges and Superior is well equipped with the right people, equipment, and experience to come up with innovative solutions to these challenges. The project is in the heart of downtown Indianapolis and is surrounded with several historical neighborhoods including the home of President Benjamin Harrison. According to INDOT, the North Split is the second-most heavily traveled interchange – and the most dangerous one – in Indiana. The project involves rebuilding more than 50 bridge structures and associated roadway while causing minimal impacts to traffic.
Superior’s construction team worked for several months with their design engineers, schedulers, traffic control specialists, highway construction experts, and their executives to come up with a design that provided the best value for taxpayer dollars. As a result of this design, the interchange will have a smaller footprint than the existing interchange without reducing traffic capacity. The new interchange will improve safety and remove bottlenecks by eliminating the weaving sections of the existing interchange.
With Superior reconstructing one of the most critical interchanges of the “Crossroads of America,” it was important to ensure the impact to traveling public was minimal. Superior’s traffic control professionals developed an efficient sequence of execution to reduce the amount of traffic movement closures. This was an important factor in scoring of the proposals which helped Superior win this contract. Superior’s design partner Janssen & Spaans Engineering (JSE) maximized the use of infield empty spaces within the existing interchange so a major portion of the new interchange could be built “offline” while causing no disruption to existing traffic. The contract documents allowed for the movement of I-65 SB to I-70 EB traffic to be shut down for 45 days. The team proposed to build this section of the interchange on a completely new alignment with an elevated overpass that would allow Superior to reduce the 45-day closure to a mere one-day closure during a weekend. Superior’s local roots and extensive experience on Indiana highways provide its team a unique edge over its peers in the heavy highway construction Industry.
With more than $300 million in construction work and an estimated 600,000 manhours of labor to be completed in less than two full construction seasons, recruiting and streamlining the supply chain was a big challenge. Superior has been working diligently over the last eight months since the public-private agreement was signed to recruit the top talent from across the nation and negotiating subcontract and purchase agreements for a variety of materials and resources.
Superior aims to complete this project ahead of the schedule, within budget, with highest quality, causing minimal impact to the public while living up to its corporate social responsibility.
Mohammed Siddiqi, PE, Design-Build Coordinator
Mohammed is the Design-Build Coordinator for the North Split project. He is a licensed professional engineer in the State of Indiana and has been on several highway construction projects throughout the United States. He has a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Utah.