Indiana 46 closure impacting some Terre Haute drivers
May 24—Earlier this month, the daily routine for Alia Al-Mansor took a drastic shift.
For nearly four years, the Terre Haute resident has driven Indiana 46 to IU Health Bloomington Hospital, where she works as an X-ray technician.
"I live in the southern part of Terre Haute and take the bypass to Indiana 46. I had been off two days and when I went to work, [Indiana 46] was closed," about five miles west of Spencer, east of Vandalia, Al-Mansor said.
That was May 12.
On May 13, the Indiana Department of Transportation and a work crew from Geo Stabilization International was on site to inspect the westbound lane of Indiana 46 in Owen County.
"It looks like Indiana 46, from all the rain and moisture we got earlier, the road around a curve there started to fall and erode. It is a slide off," said INDOT's Southeast District Spokesman Don Conner.
"For safety reasons, for school buses and for commuters and travelers, we decided to close the road," Conner said.
On May 22, GeoStabilization began repair on about 1,000 feet of Indiana 46 east of Chapman Road and west of Carmichael Lane near Vandalia, Conner said.
The work is estimated to take three weeks to complete, Conner said. Indiana 46 is now closed between Indiana 246 and Mozart Lane.
Al-Mansor and many other motorists from Terre Haute soon discovered the trek between Terre Haute and Spencer can as much as double their travel time when they use the designated detour.
That detour from Terre Haute follows Indiana 59, near Ashboro, north to Interstate 70, then east on the interstate to U.S. 231, then south back to Indiana 46 to travel to Bloomington.
What had taken Al-Mansor an hour, on average, to get to work turned into two hours.
That's a burden, especially as she works nights. However, Al-Mansor was able to negotiate with a hotel in Bloomington for an extended stay at a lower rate. Now she can get to work in a few minutes versus hours.
"I am doing stints," said Al-Mansor, a 2019 graduate of Ivy Tech Community College at Terre Haute. She stays in Bloomington for several days, then returns to Terre Haute for two days, repacks clothing and returns to Bloomington.
Yet, Al-Mansor said there is a silver lining to the inconvenience.
"It is nice that this is hitting now, as there are not many college students right now. It can be hard to get a hotel in Bloomington when students are here," Al-Mansor said.
Conner said repair of Indiana 46 involves using long steel bars extended underneath the road and adjacent hillside, along with spraying concrete through high velocity hoses to shore up and stabilize the road and shoulder.
That road stabilization project is not the only construction work underway on Indiana 46.
Milling and repaving an 8-mile stretch of Indiana 46 from the east side of Spencer to Red Hill Road, west of Ellettsville, began mid month.
That work will involve lane restrictions and delays and is expected to be completed by the end of June, Conner said.
Motorists can find about traffic delays or construction projects statewide using the "INDOT Trafficwise" mobile application.
The app can be downloaded for Apple or Android cellular phones, giving real time work updates, Conner said. Updates can also be found online at https://511in.org/.
Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @TribStarHoward.