NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE) - Inspections on the Sherman Minton Bridge are expected to begin Monday, and the work could impact commutes.
Will Wingfield with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) says the bulk of the work on the bridge will happen during the day between rush hours.
It's been three months since the completion of the Ohio River Bridges Project. While all bridges in the area are now open to full capacity, INDOT says it's time to make sure the Sherman Minton Bridge is in the best shape possible.
Starting Monday, an infrared scanning vehicle and shadow truck will slow the right lane of I-64 on the bridge to 25 miles per hour.
"We are absolutely encouraging people to move over and slow down as they would for other work that would be occurring along the road to ensure that it is safe for not only the crews, but the drivers as well," Wingfield said.
This will happen between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. each day.
"This is unique," Wingfield said. "It's intended to identify what proactive maintenance needs to be done before the bridge is painted."
Under the Sherman Minton on Main Street, all day long you'll notice inspection crews.
"That will reduce what is a two lane road down to one lane." Wingfield said. "So, flaggers will be controlling the traffic going back and forth,"
Wingfield said after the initial work, one direction of I-64 could be reduced to one lane overnight. Crews will identify all that needs to be done before the bridge can be repainted in 2019.
It's been almost six years since it was abruptly shut done for five months after crews discovered a bad crack. Since then, it has passed two of its two
year inspections. Meaning, it should not have to be shut down completely for this work.
"When the bridge was last inspected, all of the elements were in fair or better, so that's not something that we anticipate," Wingfield said.
According to a 2013 study once tolls were in the place, the Sherman Minton was expected to carry the majority of Ohio River traffic up 14 percent. No word if that is actually the case just yet.
"Once traffic reaches equilibrium a bit more, we are going to do some post construction traffic monitoring," Wingfield said. "It's one of the project commitments that just hasn't been done yet."
All of the field work is expected to take a couple months and should be completed by June. INDOT said the work will not interfere with Thunder, Derby or
Memorial Day traffic.