A central Indiana sheriff is using a state grant to enlist other law enforcement agencies in patrolling alternate routes for traffic that has been rerouted from the closed northbound lanes of Interstate 65.
Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen said the approximately $17,000 grant from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute will pay the overtime costs for officers from local police departments to help with patrols, WXIN-TV reported.
"This is not part of their 40-hour work week. This really is an extra shift, and the overtime is paid through this grant," Nielsen said, "We'll fill it as much as we can fill it."
Since a bridge on northbound I-65 was closed about a month ago, traffic normally carried by the freeway has spilled over not only to the official detour, which primarily uses U.S. 52, but to county roads as well.
"Some action needed to be taken," Nielsen said. "I honestly believe we will continue those saturated patrols there until the bridge is fixed up in the Lafayette area."
The added patrols come as work continues on the I-65 northbound bridge over Wildcat Creek. The Indiana Department of Transportation closed the bridge in early August after workers noticed it was shifting and sinking.
INDOT said Monday that stabilizing structures have been installed. The timeline to reopen remains mid-September, spokesman Will Wingfield said.
The bridge closure has caused lengthy delays for drivers on a 52-mile detour that follows state highways from near Lebanon and around the west side of Lafayette and West Lafayette to link back up with I-65 north of those cities. Some motorists have resorted to alternate routes to avoid the backups.