North Split construction, traffic closures to begin in December

A map of the work planned on the North Split. (Image courtesy of INDOT)

Work to revamp the North Split interstate interchange on the northeast side of downtown is expected to begin in three or four weeks, and drivers should expect long-term roadblocks.

Some road and ramps—including the stretch of Interstates 65 and 70 between East Washington Street and the North Split—will be closed for a year or more, the Indiana Department of Transportation announced Tuesday.

The project will redesign and reconstruct the Interstate 65/Interstate 70 interchange, including reconfiguring traffic patterns and replacing aging pavement and bridges. The project will also add landscaping, bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure, decorative lighting and other features to help integrate the highway with adjacent neighborhoods.

Work is set to begin in December and last for 25 months. The project’s price tag is nearly $320 million.

INDOT said it will close I-65 and I-70 between East Washington Street and the North Split beginning in mid-May, and this closure will last for the duration of the project. Through traffic will be routed to Interstate 465.

Other details of traffic impacts:

— Starting in early December, the Michigan Street exit ramp from the I-65/I-70 collector and distributor road will close for about a year.

— After the Michigan Street exit ramp reopens, the Ohio Street ramp will be closed for about a year.

— The I-65/I-70 collector and distributor road will be closed south of the Ohio Street exit ramp for the entire construction period, and during this time there will be no access to Fletcher Avenue.

— Several interstate ramps will remain open at all times during the project: the entrance ramp from Pine Street to eastbound I-70; the exit ramp from westbound I-70 to the I-65/I-70 collector/distributor road; the ramp connecting westbound I-70 and northbound I-65; and the ramp connecting southbound I-65 and eastbound I-70.

— Some local streets will close for up to 90 days at a time during bridge replacement work. Washington and Pennsylvania streets will remain open at all times.

To help keep traffic flowing during North Split construction, INDOT says it has invested more than $4 million to modernize and upgrade nearly 500 traffic signals, including the use of GPS synchronization.

The North Split was built in the late 1960s and is one of the most heavily traveled interchanges in the state. The renovation project was first announced in September 2017.

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11 thoughts on “North Split construction, traffic closures to begin in December

  1. This should do “wonders” for the downtown and neighborhoods nearby. And as if we don’t have enough traffic on I-465. 25 months! That is over 2 years. By the time its finished, people will wonder why in the world it was ever done in the first place.

    1. The best option would have been to tear it out entirely but the road construction lobby was never going to allow that.

      I’m all for roads to help people get into downtown quickly. Destroying neighborhoods so people can drive THROUGH Indianapolis a couple minutes faster … that’s what I-465 is for.

    2. Joe B would rather have all the d/t traffic on neighborhood streets instead of the interstate roads? Most who lived downtown when this was built are gone. So moving there more recently and thinking it going to change, tear down the d/t interstate exchanges? Put up with it or move. 465 has residence beside it’s path also, share the pain.

    3. Imagine a freeway going through the middle of Manhattan. That was the plan until the community came together to oppose it. Freeways _to_ NYC? Great! Freeways _to_ Indy? Great! We don’t need one _through_ Indy.

  2. Doug, INDOTs own traffic studies show majority of North Split traffic is remaining on interstates rather than getting in/out of city streets. This type of traffic really should be encouraged to go through I-465 which is exactly what it is for. Then with the remaining traffic, a more proper boulevard system could likely handle it since we’re now no longer dealing with the through traffic such as freight trucks.

  3. The interstate-through-the city frenzy hit Indianapolis quite late compared to other large cities. It sparked a major exodus and destroyed connectivity and cohesiveness of many neighborhoods. However, complaints were many but the neighborhoods initially affected did not have the power power or clout to change the path. However, one can note that no freeway continues straight north. And, the proposed I-69 link from downtown to I-465 in the Castleton area never happened; commuters must settle for Binford Blvd, Fall Creek Pkwy, and local streets to access downtown in a more direct manner (or I-465 to I-70). But, those en route to downtown Indy from due north must use streets south of 96th St as the lovely US 31 and Keystone Pkwy freeways abruptly end at I-465. One doubts a freeway will traverse Meridian Hills or the Butler Tarkington area – wonder why.
    The north split will not increase capacity but will improve safety by improved design; the project also focused on maintenance – replacement of deteriorated structures before they collapse as College Ave over Fall Creek almost did (Meridian Street may be next). Indiana DOT seems to enjoy poor design – howe many times has the I-70/I-465 East interchange been redesigned? And, why are the inefficient large loop ramps so popular; these are inefficient and characterized by poor sight distance. Although unlikely to happen, a better plan would be to deconstruct I-65 entirely and most segments of I-70 inside I-465.

    1. I’d leave them as spurs that gradually taper down to boulevards, but the end result should a) be slower for through traffic to the point that all traffic “just passing through” doesn’t and b) isn’t as destructive to the area as an interstate.

      For instance – once you get past (for example) Harding on 70 on the west side, that shouldn’t be an interstate any longer.

      Generally, it feels like the folks in the donut counties want Indianapolis to keep their downtown full of interstates … to make it easier for them to get from one side of downtown to the other, consequences to Indianapolis itself be damned. If they want to pay some regional taxes (aka the commuter tax) … then maybe it’s a different conversation.

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