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Drivers are getting a different view this weekend as they detour around Interstate 71 near Louisville. On Friday night, the interstate was shut down for construction. But crews are making progress towards re-opening in time for Monday morning's rush hour.
There are two projects going on here at the same time. The re-paving of the southbound lanes and bridge deck work on the northbound lanes. It adds up to a big inconvenience for motorists.
As soon as the barricades went up, the crews went to work. The only backup on I-71, were the trucks loaded with asphalt. But why was it necessary to close the entire interstate to get this work done?
You can trace the reason all the way back to the closing of the Sherman Minton Bridge last year. The urgency of that project caused other work to get pushed back, said KY Transportation Cabinet spokesperson Andrea Clifford.
"We knew we had the work on the Kennedy coming up, as well as the pavement replacement project on interstate 65. So in order to expedite this work and get it done before we have 24-hour lane closures on the Kennedy Bridge, the thought came up, 'Let's close it down on the weekends to get it done faster.'"
Andrea Clifford also says doing the work all at once, instead of in stages, means fewer joints and seams in the asphalt, and that means fewer potholes later on.
"The paving trucks have been running in tandem. They are paving both lanes at the same time. And as they do that, they have vibratory rollers that come behind and smooth out the pavement, but it also seals up the joint between the two driving lanes. And that will help eliminate water infiltrating."
And closing the highway also makes the work zone safer, allowing the contractor to bring in a lot more manpower.
"It is inconvenient for motorists for us to have the roadway closed on the weekend, but we can actually do a lot more in one weekend than we can with traditional methods. We would have lane closures going on a lot longer."
Clifford also adds that Louisville is fortunate to have a great detour route with the Watterson Expressway and I-64.
The big test of driver's patience will come tomorrow with all the extra traffic on the roads for Mothers Day.