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A look from behind the wheel of one possible fix:

October 15, 2007

Perhaps the best way to describe possible changes that await I-69/I-465 commuters a decade from now is to drive the "preferred alternative" route under consideration.

Just south of 96th Street, southbound I-69 traffic from Fishers would pick up an extra travel lane on what's now a three-lane interstate. Then, just north of 82nd Street, two more lanes would appear to the right, isolated by a concrete barrier to prevent the orgy of lastminute merging that now disrupts traffic flow.

Those right two lanes are an exit for 82nd Street. They continue south, branching off to I-465 east/west and to southbound Binford Boulevard.

The four primary I-69 lanes, to the left, also will provide access to either direction of I-465.

As for the evening rush hour, the plan being studied addresses one of the worst bottlenecks: where I-465 westbound exits and merges onto I-69.

The plan would decongest I-69 traffic by severing the direct link between Binford and I-69.

Instead, northbound Binford, just north of I-465, would jog slightly to the northeast and become part of an 82nd Street collector hugging the north bound lanes of I-69. From the collector, Binford motorists could pick up I-69 north of 82nd Street.

Meanwhile, westbound I-465 traffic would use a ramp that's wider than today's I-69 ramp. From the new ramp, motorists would split to either the 82nd Street collector, on the right, or proceed straight on the ramp that becomes the outer two right lanes of I-69.

An even bigger change is envisioned for motorists eastbound on I-465 wanting to go north on I-69. Now, they exit I-465 on the right--bearing right around a cloverleaf that puts them north on I-69 after eventually merging into congested northbound Binford.

The design favored in the INDOT consultant report would instead create a three-lane corridor exiting I-465 before Binford. One lane would turn south, to Binford. The two others would head onto a "flyover" bridge to be built in a northeast direction, over I-465. The bridge, estimated to cost $22 million, would drop down to become the outer two left lanes of I-69.

The design does not provide for a fix some have wanted since I-69 was built: access to southbound I-465 from northbound Binford.
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