BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The first home football game of the season for Indiana University is Saturday night, and fans should notice a big improvement when it comes to getting to the stadium.
INDOT crews are removing construction barrels and opening driving lanes to help traffic move more smoothly during each home game this year.
"We will be having the I-69 corridor open to at least two lanes in each direction," said INDOT spokesperson Scott Manning.
That means two lanes, and three lands in some areas around Bloomington, will be open for both northbound and southbound drivers between the 21-mile stretch between Bloomington and Martinsville.
INDOT had set a self-imposed deadline to be substantially done with the project by the end of August. Manning said Friday the project is 98 percent complete.
With two lanes open, fans should notice the improved trip.
"You won’t have the backups that will occur when merging from two lanes down to one," Manning said. "That will eliminate some of the congestion people remember from last year."
In recent seasons, fans trying to get from the south side of Indianapolis to Memorial Stadium might have needed to allow two hours to make the trip. This plan should reduce drive times. That's what INDOT witnessed when it opened the entire stretch to two lanes over Labor Day weekend.
Barrels and barriers will be moved Friday evening in preparation for IU's game Saturday night at 7:30 against Virginia. They will be moved back to their original location before the Monday morning commute.
Manning said the plan was put in place when INDOT took over the project back in the later part of the summer last year.
"It has been difficult the last few years with the I-69 construction," said Indiana University Assistant Vice President of Engagement Kirk White. "We’re excited about that because once it gets done it’ll be really easy to get in and out."
White recommended fans still check university and INDOT websites before heading to a game to know more about pre-game and post-game traffic patterns. He added he expects drive times to not only improve as the season progresses, but they'll also be better now than they were compared to before the construction project began.
"The highway is in a safer condition right now," said White. "There are less intersections on the highway now. We’re down to just the I-69 interchanges. So, you have less coming and going on the side roads and that sort of thing. I think it’s going to be a safer environment."
Manning reminded drivers that the road is still part of a construction zone and the speed limit is 45 miles an hour.