INDIANAPOLIS — Circle City drivers will have to make it through all of winter before the North Split interchange reopens to traffic.
This is now the second delay announced in roughly a month for the now two-year-long construction project.
At the beginning of November, INDOT said the North Split would not be reopening at the beginning of 2023 as was the plan. Instead, some parts of the work would bleed into 2023, with new plans to have the interchange back open to construction in early 2023.
But, on Friday, INDOT announced a new plan for when the North Split would reopen.
”We’re expecting to have the interchange fully open by the end of April,” said INDOT spokesperson Natalie Garrett.
Garrett said INDOT is expected to open the I-70 movements of the interchange in early to mid-January and open the I-65 movements before May.
INDOT said supply chain issues and workforce challenges over the last 18 months have forced them to alter the original plan, despite what they’ve tried to do to mitigate those challenges.
“We’ve expanded our material sourcing, casting a wider net to get those supplies for the project,” Garrett said. “We also made adjustments to the phasing of the work as needed and brought on additional sub-contractors and crews as we’re able to have more manpower to continue progress on the project.”
Drivers we talked to said they weren’t surprised by another delay.
Kevin Donohue said he avoids the North Split construction and the closure has added 15 minutes to his commute. He’s worried about winter weather putting a further delay on a reopening date.
”We haven’t hit winter yet so you know that’s going to add to it as well,” Donohue said.
Garrett said they’re hoping for a milder winter and will take advantage of any day where the weather is nice enough for crews to get work done.
”Some of the work, specifically concrete paving, is dependent on temperature and weather,” Garrett said.
Christine Caltoum said she doesn’t drive around the North Split construction often, but still notices the impacts.
”I live downtown and I work downtown, so I don’t drive it very often.” she said. “I just am caught up in the construction around that area.”
Despite just driving in the downtown area, Caltoum said the traffic from construction trucks has added time to her commute.
”It makes the construction traffic around the house a lot heavier and the noise is pretty disturbing as well,” Caltoum said.
Garrett said parts of the project will open incrementally as segments get finished.
”Which should mean less impact on local streets for residents and businesses in the downtown area,” Garrett said.
Caltoum said she’s hoping for no more delays on this latest date, especially with the new end date being awfully close to may and Indy 500 time in the circle city.
”We’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed that it is done in April,” Caltoum said.
Whenever traffic is back on the North Split, it will not mean the end for the entire project. INDOT said it will still have more beautification and street connection work to do.