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How The Indiana Department of Transportation Delivered A $2 Billion Highway Project On Schedule


For over 60 years, Interstate 69 (I-69) has been a key transit route in the Midwest, with segments winding through Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Texas. Commuters and commercial drivers have never been able to drive straight through on I-69 in Indiana, but by 2025, they will be.

That’s thanks to the I-69 Finish Line project, a years-long effort by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to connect the two existing segments of I-69. When finished, the project will complete the roughly 26-mile stretch between Indianapolis and Evanston, saving drivers 11 minutes in travel time. 

But laying new pavement was just part of the $2 billion project. INDOT has also built and replaced over 70 bridges, eliminated 14 traffic signals, and constructed 14 over- and underpasses to connect every access point for I-69. To keep everyone on the same page, INDOT relied on Autodesk Build, part of Autodesk Construction Cloud, to stay organized and keep teams informed on project updates.

I-69: One of Indiana’s Oldest (and Newest) Interstates 

The first segment of Indiana’s original I-69 route opened in October 1962, with 10 subsequent segments added through 1971. An I-69 extension from Indianapolis to Evansville was proposed as far back as 1968, but never came to be.

Half a century later, the vision is coming true. The final segment includes constructing a highway from Martinsville to I-465 in Indianapolis, and adding a travel lane on I-465 from I-65 to I-70 on the southwest side of Indianapolis. 

Andrew Pangallo, Construction Digital Delivery Lead Engineer at INDOT, has been a key player in making this “once in a generation” project connecting two major cities happen. Andrew manages a vast team of designers, engineers, and contractors who are working on the corridor-wide redesign. 

Tasked to complete the project in four years, Andrew and INDOT needed a platform to facilitate greater collaboration and communication between project teams.

“We knew that we needed something more than conventional methods,” says Andrew. “We needed a way to communicate with the hundreds of people that were involved in this corridor so we did not miss a step.”

Choosing the Right Toolset 

On past construction projects, INDOT had used various software platforms, creating inconsistencies in how information was documented. To standardize data capture and reduce the knowledge drop-off across its capital programs, INDOT moved to consolidate toolsets and adopt one platform that could integrate with its other applications, including DroneDeploy, EarthCam, and ArcGIS. 

“With multiple divisions within INDOT using different software, we wanted to understand what processes we could improve and modernize by updating our software,” says Andrew. 

INDOT commissioned a study with Purdue University to review its existing project delivery method. Researchers provided guidance on when, who, and how to collect data during the design and construction phases, as well as how to solve compatibility problems between design models and GIS models. 

“We wanted to begin all projects with the end in mind,” says Andrew. 

Collecting data from the start of the project would help with long-term operations and maintenance, rather than trying to associate it all with a project after its completion. It also aligned with INDOT’s long-term goals around its tech stack, including efforts to: 

  • Reset processes, provide standardized guidance—and enforce both 
  • Modernize information sharing and visualization 
  • Enable transparency in workflows, statuses, and impact 
  • Improve collaboration and efficiency


 

"When you have a platform that elevates project issues and pinpoints their exact locations, there’s greater accountability, and teams are more proactive in resolution."

-Andrew Pangallo
Construction Digital Delivery Lead Engineer, INDOT


 

“Highway engineering requires a lot of coordination and communication between third parties that need access to one environment,” says Andrew. “In our evaluation of software providers, Autodesk’s vision aligned with ours, and the integration between BIM and GIS was a no-brainer.”

Creating One Project Environment 

Autodesk Construction Cloud allows INDOT designers, engineers, and contractors to manage project documentation in one environment. With a shared folder structure, INDOT can standardize information capture while managing who can access specific folders and documents. The enhanced permission settings help streamline communication and ensure the timely reviews of models, RFIs, submittals, and issues.

“Setting up role-based permissions makes sharing documents much easier because we can assign tasks to specific project members,” says Andrew. “From there, we can trust that the right people are seeing the right information without any bottlenecks.”

For example, INDOT includes the designers in the RFI process to better understand what the contractors are asking. By having access to attachments and plan sheets, the designer has more insight into what’s happening to respond succinctly and answer real-time questions for faster resolution.

“Instead of being reactive to mitigating certain impacts, we can take a holistic view of the project to recognize issues earlier in the process and raise awareness to keep the project on schedule,” says Andrew. 
 


Staying on Schedule 

On the I-69 Finish Line project, there were over 750 issues. By standardizing drop-down categories in Build and attaching timestamps, photos, and attachments related to the issue, INDOT teams are more efficient at handling issues. Using the GPS Locations for Issues feature in Build (see above) also helped INDOT teams understand and map out issues on the 15 miles of roadway they were managing at any given time. 

Andrew estimates that using Autodesk Construction Cloud has saved inspectors, administrators, project managers, and designers who work on INDOT’s Major Projects over 13,900 hours of work a year. Project managers and designers have saved 3 hours per week, inspectors 2.5 hours per week, and administrators 5 hours per week.

This increased productivity equates to roughly $1 million in yearly savings for INDOT’s Major Projects, according to Andrew. By the end of 2024, he estimates Major Projects will have achieved almost 20 times the return on their investment in Autodesk Construction Cloud.

“When you have a platform that elevates project issues and pinpoints their exact locations, there’s greater accountability, and teams are more proactive in resolution,” says Andrew. 

The scheduling module in Build also helps INDOT better understand project activity. All parties can update the schedule in real time, make comments, and redistribute it across teams. INDOT is currently using this process on Construction Contract 5 as they connect I-69 to Fairview Road and I-465, as well as expand three interchanges.

INDOT can also see how they’re trending on schedule based on changes across the project. For example, phase change modifications and design changes can delay a project 30-40 days from a procurement standpoint. By identifying them earlier in Build, INDOT can monitor and make schedule changes accordingly to keep the project on track. 

“Just because something is in the schedule doesn’t mean it’s set in stone,” says Andrew. “By working in a shared environment, we can work together to prioritize activity and establish a higher level of planning that we haven’t been able to before.”

Autodesk Construction Cloud has helped revamp the review process for INDOT, increasing transparency and removing bottlenecks so teams can collaborate on issues to get work done on schedule and budget.

The Way Forward

With the I-69 Finish Line project approaching its completion date, Andrew says that using Autodesk Construction Cloud has “really been a big first step” towards realizing that solutions leveraging BIM and 3D models are “worth the investment.”

Andrew and his team are also listening to feedback from their trade partners and contractors, who shared positive feedback on their experience collaborating and communication in Autodesk Construction Cloud.

As INDOT assesses future projects, the I-69 Finish Line project will be a signpost on the road to more technology investment within the department. 

And for Hoosiers and visitors traveling the busy Indiana corridors, I-69 will soon be a completely connected interstate, expected to generate over $4 billion in economic impact over the next two decades.