INDIANAPOLIS — After less than three years of wear-and-tear, IndyGo is spending more than $5 million to repair damaged pavement and pay for station improvements along its 12-mile-long Red Line route connecting Broad Ripple with the University of Indianapolis through downtown and Fountain Square.
”It’s very disappointing after all the money and the resources that we put toward IndyGo to make the Red Line work that we are having to go back and redo all the same work we have already done,” said Republican City-County Councilor Brian Mowery.
IndyGo blames unforeseen excessive wear on the pavement from the braking and accelerating of the system’s 60-foot-long articulated electric buses all along the route.
“There was a consensus between IndyGo and DPW when the Red Line was designed and built that the concrete work conducted around the pads and dedicated bus lanes was sufficient,” reads an IndyGo statement to FOX59 News. “We are learning more about how our city’s aging infrastructure reacts under the weight of the buses running repeatedly over the same lanes.”
Excessive wear and rutting have damaged the pavement along Meridian Street, College Avenue and Capitol Avenue where the 1.6-mile-long stretch from IU Health Methodist Hospital at 16th Street down to the Statehouse at West Washington Street has been reduced to one or two lanes as construction crews take up old pavement, put down new and repair bus stations that were built in 2019.
Rub rails are being added to Red Line stations to protect buses as they pull up to a stop.
”I don’t understand. I thought they prepped all the roads before they put in these bus stops and these Red Line lanes but they’re bringing it all up, tearing it all up and repouring it again,” said Rick Oldham as he stood outside of Oldham Musician Repair and Sales at the corner of Vermont and Capitol where a Red Line station is located. ” It’s hard to understand what happened or what didn’t happen correctly.”
Several blocks north, Domino’s manager Brittany Tragesser has closed her drive-thru service due to construction on the street in front of the pizza store.
”You wonder how it damaged that fast and what you can do to fix it,” she said considering the motorists who have been inconvenienced again due to Red Line construction. “I can imagine they’re a little shook up that it’s being done this soon.”
The Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation receives subsidies and federal funding plus roughly $50 million annually in a dedicated income tax and therefore comes before the City-County Council’s Municipal Corporations Committee for approval of its 2023 budget next month.
”I certainly look forward to a spirited debate on their budget because I think we need to know exactly what the money is going for and how we’ve used the money in the past,” said Mowery, “because if we’re already having to redo stations downtown, what’s to say that when we get done with Purple Line in three years we’re doing that as well.”
IndyGo anticipates spending $162 million to build the Purple Line connecting Lawrence with downtown Indianapolis primarily along Post Road to East 38th Street in 2024.
”We are in a position where we are trying to make the Red Line successful and we’ve already invested the tax dollars into it we have so I want to see it succeed,” said Mowery. “If that means halting the Purple and the Blue and really getting in-depth on the Red, that’s what we need to do.”
IndyGo intends to spend $220 million to connect Cumberland on the east with the Indianapolis International Airport on the west via the Blue Line along Washington Street in a project that is still in the planning phase.