Another Bridge Comes Down

When I-465 was built between 1961 and 1968, there was one thing that was pretty much standard in the construction: concrete arch bridges. By the beginning of this year, most of those bridges were gone. Those at Mooresville Road, Mann Road, Arlington Avenue, English Avenue, Ditch Road and Township Line Road were the last six in the entire 53 miles of the interstate.

And now, the one at Ditch Road is mostly gone.

It is not hard to understand why these bridges are being removed, and not replaced in kind. When they were built, there was no traffic on the road. That made it a lot easier to pour a totally concrete bridge. Trying to do that now would be problematic, at best, given the traffic that 465 sees daily.

Another reason, quite honestly, has to be cost. Most of the older bridges that have been removed were due to expansion of the interstate. It is cheaper to build a longer steel beam bridge than it would be to replace it in kind. The new bridge style also adds clearance room to the shoulders, something that was lacking when the originals were built.

I pass the bridges at Ditch and Township Line Roads six days a week. (One of the quirks of working overnight.) INDOT’s contractors have been demolishing the Ditch Road over the past several weeks. It is a sad thing to see such history removed. That bridge is 50+ years old. One would hope that when the new bridge goes in, it will be like the 96th Street bridge they replaced just east of this one. The 96th Street bridge had room for future expansion, something that was sadly missing when I-465 was built in the first place.

As of this writing, half of the Ditch Road bridge is gone. That leaves five monuments to the original construction left. Here’s to the end of a chapter of Indiana Transportation History.

2 thoughts on “Another Bridge Comes Down

  1. I got a good look at the demolition in progress the other night around 9 pm because traffic was at a crawl through the construction zone. I sometimes think about how much Interstate visual history is lost because you really can’t safely photograph it. Perhaps dashcam is the way to go — make the full 465 loop recording video.

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    1. Well, I did get a dash cam because I wanted proof that there are too many “non-driving” drivers out there. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I could use it for things like that…and the pending “Road Trip 1926.” I just have to remember that I can only do two hours at a time at this point. I need to see if I can put a bigger SD card in it.

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