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State to beef up busy south-side interchange

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State highway officials are accepting public comments through today on the most recent design tweaks for a $45 million reconstruction of the busy interchange at interstates 65 and 465 south of Indianapolis.

The Indiana Department of Transportation will add another lane in both directions of I-65 between the interchange and Southport Road. More lanes also would be added to I-465, east of the interchange. And a single-lane ramp from northbound I-65 to eastbound I-465 would be widened to two lanes.

The latest changes keep in place the most dramatic feature unveiled earlier this year: a flyover ramp from westbound I-465 to southbound I-65. The flyover will replace a tight-radius loop ramp on the northwest corner of the interchange that causes traffic to creep onto I-65 South, particularly when semi trucks use it.

Many of the public comments received so far pertain not to the changes in traffic movements, said INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield.

“It’s been about noise,” he said.

So the latest design proposal contemplates additional noise walls, particularly south of the interchange on I-65. As a result, the cost of the project has risen to $45 million from $36 million projected earlier.

The updated plans leave in place a peculiar legacy design feature of the interchange: ramps that feed I-65 traffic into the high-speed left lanes of I-465. That occurs where southbound I-65 traffic enters eastbound I-465, and where northbound I-65 enters westbound I-465.

There was no need to alter those ramps because problems don’t occur at those points like they do at northbound I-65 to eastbound I-465, and the I-465 westbound to southbound I-65, Wingfield said. “Those are the ones that back up most frequently.”

About 110,000 vehicles per day travel on I-465 and 106,000 on I-65 in the vicinity of the interchange, according to INDOT records. That compares with about 125,500 vehicles on I-465 between Allisonville Road and Interstate 69/Binford Avenue on the northeast side of Indianapolis.

The I-65/I-465 interchange improvements will provide welcome new business potential for highway contractors, who will get a chance to bid in July of next year. Construction is to start later in 2013, with completion likely in late 2014.

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  • 65&465
    People calm down. You people realize when they complete i69 traffic at 65&465 will ease up. Why? Because traffic coming from and going to Bloomington, Evansville and all points in between use 65. So just wait till its finished then see what happens. Traffic going to and from Columbus, Louisville, etc will use 65 only. This will eliminate at least a quarter of the cars at that intersection.
  • So how many people who live along the interstate were there before the interstate? I have no sympathy and hate having to pay for noise reduction when the folks who bought there knew there was an interstate there.
  • Is Commuter Based
    Eric, your assumption is incorrect. Employment density in Greenwood has nothing to do with it. It's the residential density as people commute home. The heavy commuter traffic heads south from downtown to the homes along Southport, County Line, etc. This commuter traffic causes congestion at the intersection with 465. This congestion slows the traffic merging from 465 W to 65 S. Eventually the slowdown causes backups on 465 because 465 traffic is impeded by the large amount of commuter traffic on 65 south. I drive it everyday and can assure you the source of the problem is with commuter traffic on 65 south, not with trucks coming from Ohio.
  • Not commuter based
    If the traffic is most problematic on I-65S from I-465 is occurring in the afternoon, then it can't be commuter based. The employment density in Greenwood is virtually non-existent, so most of that must be caused by semis coming from Ohio and headed toward Kentucky (or the logistics centers in Greenwood) that cannot easily negotiate the curve onto the I-65S. I'm not the least bit opposed to HOV or Express lanes, but that seems to be a commuter based solution when the problem here is with trucks.
    • HOV Lanes
      Why does Indianapolis not have HOV lanes? When I travel from Indy to Atlanta, I absolutely love the HOV lanes. Nashville and Atlanta both have them, and they save so much time. I honestly think HOV lanes could be added all over the metro, and I think a "pay as you go" type system would be great for the Fishers-to-Indianapolis route (I-69, I-465, I-70.) Many people would pay to bypass traffic. On topic of the I-65/I-465 ramp, it definitely needs at least one extra lane in each direction if not more. And the flyover ramp will make traffic so much smoother!
    • Noise issues and wasted money
      There are some serious noise issues along the 65 stretch. They did review the plans and added a few noise barriers but are still ignoring the stretch between the interchange and a point just north of Edgewood Road along I-65 because it is not "cost-effective" even though two lanes will be added and the ramp from northbound I65 to eastbound I465. (I won't even mention that all that will do is feed more traffic to sit because of all the lights on Emerson just as you get off that ramp. At the same time they are going to take out a bridge that was completely rebuilt less than two years ago (estimated cost - a few million) because of the new flyover ramp. So I really don't understand how not including noise barriers all along I65 is less cost effective than all the money wasted on rebuilding the bridge.
    • Bravo!
      American Dirt obviously doesn't travel this area during afternoon rush hour. There are HUGE commuter traffic problems getting onto I-65 from I-465 westbound. In fact, I-465 can back up all the way to Washington St. on I-465 southbound, all crawling to the I-65 South ramp. Kudos to IN for the flyover ramp design, which works very well at I-74 & I-465. Another option IN doesn't seem to ever consider is restricted express lanes, such as one on I-65 South that doesn't allow exiting until at least south of Southport Road and maybe south of County Line Rd., and a desperately needed one on Binford Ave. north of 75th St. that doesn't allow exiting until north of 96th St. or even until north of 116th St.
    • HOV
      If there were any real commuter traffic problems along I-65, HOV would be a welcome inclusion. But there is not. The density along the I-65 south corridor through Greenwood pales next to anything in Fishers and I-69. And Greenwood simply isn't high-growth enough that the I-65 LOS is likely to change that much in the next decade. The only possible reason this interchange enhancement would be necessary is to accommodate trucks and the logistics industry.
      • Fix It
        Merging into the left high-speed lanes is awkward. It may not cause traffic backups, but while you're fixing everything, why not fix that safety issue too? It's never going to get cheaper.
      • So 1984
        How about the inclusion of an HOV lane to provide an incentive to reduce the number of vehicles on the road so that we might not need to spend money on a similar widening in another ten years or so?

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      1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

      2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

      3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

      4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

      5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.

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