INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Red Line construction is expected to start soon after $75 million in federal funding for the project is finally approved.
Groundbreaking for the Red Line was initially expected to be last June; but construction was delayed until January 2018. But because their grant hadn’t been approved, they set their sight on March. Now, nearly a year after the initial expected start date, construction could start in a few weeks.
Indiana's congressional delegation received word that the U.S. Department of Transportation will sign the grant agreement for IndyGo in nine days. IndyGo leaders say groundbreaking on the project will happen just weeks later - though no exact date has been set yet.
The project is a proposed 13.1-mile bus rapid transit (BRT) line, where 7.7 miles of the route will operate within exclusive or semi-exclusive bus lanes, and the remaining 5.4 miles will operate in mixed traffic.
The Red Line will operate from Broad Ripple in the north, through downtown Indianapolis, and terminate at the University of Indianapolis in the south. Along the corridor, 27 new stations will be constructed, comprising 20 center boarding platform stations and seven curbside station pairs, plus a stop at the existing Julia M. Carson Transit Center in downtown Indianapolis, for a total of 28 stations served.
"About a third of this project is investment in basic infrastructure," said Bryan Luellen, from IndyGo. "We’re going to be repaving the roadway, updating the signals, improving sidewalks and ramps."
IndyGo shared rough timelines for how long each portion of the construction will take.
The first phase of construction is set to happen along Shelby Street.
But, some business owners are worried about the impact of operating in a construction zone for six months.
"The people driving by, people walking, that’s the lifeline of the business," said Chris Johns, who recently opened a barber shop along Shelby Street.
He said a long construction project could drive people away from the area.
"That could have very negative impact on the businesses when it's going on so they could potentially close," Johns said.
IndyGo says they plan to update construction plans regularly and provide an interactive construction map so drivers can plan ahead.
"Construction is going to be rough," Leullen said. "There are going to be impacts. But, we have a maintenance of traffic plan that we work on with the city."