In Indiana, sections of I-65 are undergoing concrete restoration in a short 1-mile work zone that moves north as the work progresses. The construction work includes full and partial depth patches and replacing terminal joints with asphalt. While construction workers were originally separated from traffic by cones and plastic barrels, multiple intrusions by vehicles into the work zone led INDOT and contractor E&B Paving to replace the plastic delineation with a moveable concrete barrier called The Road Zipper System.
The split work zone is in the center of three northbound lanes of I-65. Using all lanes and shoulders, the contractor was able to keep two lanes closed while providing three lanes for traffic during the peak period. This closure allows for larger equipment to remain inside the work zone at all times. At night, the barrier wall closest to the median is lifted by a Barrier Transfer Machine and moved out to take an additional lane, creating a larger, more efficient work zone. In this configuration, there are three lanes closed with the shoulders open to provide two driving lanes for nighttime traffic. From 7:00 pm to 4:00 am each weekday, workers patch failing sections of the roadway behind the positive protection of concrete barrier, which has completely eliminated vehicle encroachments into the work zone and helped to guide motorists through lane change configurations.
“It’s a challenge to patch and replace terminal joints in all three lanes of the highway,” says Joseph Dubyel, PE, American StructurePoint Inc. engineer providing project oversight for INDOT on the I-65 job. “Being able to have a split traffic zone and having the barrier wall to protect both the traveling public and the construction workers has been a huge advantage and a great benefit.”
When considering the difference in safety with the moveable barrier wall, Dubyel is very clear. “I know that personally, I have felt more comfortable working in a closed concrete work zone. In talking with the crews, the contractor, and INDOT, I know that everyone is more comfortable with the protection of the barrier wall on both sides of us.” Dubyel also appreciates the reliability of the Road Zipper. “The moveable barrier has definitely been a reliable product. The performance and ease of moving the wall out and back each morning and night has helped provide safety and efficiency on this project.”