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'Big Squeeze' Expected to Cause Long-Term Traffic Issues on I-65

A new stage of the downtown bridge project starting Tuesday will reduce Interstate 65 lanes and shift traffic in Southern Indiana, leading to traffic congestion into 2016.The Downtown Crossing portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project faces traffic delays during this long-term portion of the construction. This construction phase focuses on I-65 between Brown's Station Way and the Kennedy Bridge.About 125,000 vehicles go across the Kennedy each day—about 55 percent of travel between Louisville and Southern Indiana, according to a news release from the Downtown Crossing project.The new lane restrictions mean I-65 northbound and southbound will each be reduced from three lanes of through traffic to two between the Kennedy and Brown's Station—about 1 1/2 miles, according to the news release.The project issued this graphic showing what the new phase, dubbed "The Big Squeeze," will do:

New lanes of northbound I-65 will be built while the lane restrictions are in place, according to the news release. The lane restrictions should continue until late 2016 when the project is finished.To start, the inside lane of southbound I-65 is expected to be closed during the Tuesday morning commute, the group said. The inside lane of northbound I-65 is expected to close Tuesday night.The Downtown Crossing adds: The lane closures will squeeze both directions of I-65 into the area where the southbound lanes are currently. This shift will allow for the demolition of the existing and the construction of new northbound lanes to connect with the new Ohio River bridge under constructionAnd: I-65 South traffic is expected to move into its new, split position the week of September 8, with one lane of southbound traffic on the I-65 South collector-distributor. I-65 North traffic is expected to move to its new position the week of September 15, occupying two lanes of the former I-65 South.No changes are expected for the southbound Kennedy, but northbound lanes will go from three lanes and an exit to two lanes and an exit, according to the project's news release. Also, northbound I-65 travelers won't have direct access to Stansifer Avenue or Brown's Station once the configuration changes. Those motorists can get to Stansifer or Brown's Station by taking the 10th Street exit.