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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- For the second weekend in a row, the closure of a major portion of I-65 in Louisville is causing detours and delays for drivers.
"Slow and steady goes the job." That's the motto on the section of Interstate 65 south that's closed to traffic for repaving.
"Make sure everything is going smooth--that's all we got to do," said Hall Contracting worker Mike Mattingly, as he walked at a pace of 30 feet a minute Saturday morning next to the conveyor laying asphalt.
Mattingly is part of a 50 person team laying 20,000 pounds of new asphalt on the freeway between the Watterson Expressway and the Chestnut Street exit.
"We have 3 pavers, paving all the lanes simultaneously," said Hall Contracting Vice President Tom Roberts. "It could only be done this way with the road closed."
But shutting down this side of the freeway blocked a main artery in the heart of downtown Louisville. And if the city's a body, then it is already bruised because of the traffic tie-ups linked to the Kennedy Bridge.
"The closure is inconvenient to the traveling public, but this is a much quicker process overall and you get a better product,"said Roberts, who said that closing the four miles of freeway allows his team to lay the asphalt in two days instead of two weeks.
"You'll ride down the road and see striping. You'll see lane lines but no joints in the pavement and for longevity there will be no way for water to penetrate the mix and go to the underlying layer which is how roads fail," Roberts said.
They plan to reopen the freeway on Monday by 5 a.m. Drivers will notice the biggest change over the bridges along the newly paved portion of I-65. The hard bumps caused by tires rolling over the bridge joints will no longer be a part of the drive because the bridge joints are being paved over.
It is long, slow and very hot work. Roberts said the asphalt sizzles at 350 degrees, making Mattingly's 18 hour walk on top of it even more grueling. Nonetheless, Mattingly said it's better this way than the alternative.
"We dodge cars all the time at night. People don't pay attention to the signs or barrels," Roberts said.
Hall finished the top on the same section of I-65 north last weekend. The entire project cost $21 million.