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Local group wants INDOT to put the brakes on their North Split improvement plans

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – More than 200,000 vehicles travel along the I-65/I-70 North Split every day.

INDOT has been looking at how to improve its infrastructure, making it safer for drivers. They released an initial plan for the North Split, and then an alternative plan last month based on public input. It’s been the topic of some heated discussion, so much so that a local group has come up with their own improvement plan. They hope INDOT will take it into consideration.

In 2017, INDOT revealed details about the plan to reduce congestion and improve safety.

There was one proposal neighbors nearby really disliked. It called for a rebuild of the North Split along its current lines with added lanes and an expanded footprint to reduce congestion and improve safety.

After listening to public input for months, INDOT released a new plan for the North Split that would not add through lanes. It would also replace bridges and pavement, improve safety at the most hazardous locations in the project area and remove two major bottlenecks on the west leg.

The Rethink 65/70 coalition, made up of local business owners, residents and community organizations, hired a consulting firm to take a look at INDOT’s plans and suggest some improvements. They want the North Split plan to follow these four guiding principles:

  1. No lane expansion
  2. No above-grade walls outside the North Split
  3. Enhanced economic development
  4. Increased connectivity between downtown and surrounding neighborhoods

INDOT’s new plan meets only one of the coalition’s principles, which is having no large walls. But it does call for widening in some areas of the interstate. The consulting firm also found INDOT’s plans don’t address improving economic development or making it easier for people to get to and from downtown and neighborhoods around the interstate.

The firm, Arup Advisors, also found there’s a lot of opportunity for growth in the areas around the I-65/I-70 North Split. Their projections find, “There could be up to 10 million square feet of residential and office development along the interstate, with approximately 3,000 new residential units and over 22,000 jobs.”

Rethink 65/70 is going to present the firm’s findings at a meeting on November 12. They have invited INDOT and state and local government agencies to see their plans earlier in the day. The coalition hopes officials will take their findings into account and improve upon INDOT’s current plan. Construction isn’t set to start until 2020.

The coalition’s meeting will be at 6 p.m. at the Indiana Landmarks Center (1201 Central Avenue). Doors open at 5 p.m.

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