Popular exit to reopen next month as North Split construction continues

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INDIANAPOLIS — Wednesday Sept. 15 will mark four months since the North Split was first closed. If you’ve driven through the detours, you’ve likely noticed some of the changes taking shape nearby.

The massive project, slated to last 18 months, has offered drivers little opportunity for quick relief.

Along East St. Clair Street, the first of 44 bridges to be replaced will open to drivers in early to mid October. The nearby Michigan Street exit on I-70 will also open.

But this news should be taken with a grain of salt, as the Ohio Street exit will close at the same time. Regardless, INDOT says the completed bridge and exit ramp will give Hoosiers an early look at what the rest of the North Split construction project will look like when completed late next year.

“It will be our first completed bridge so you’ll be able to see kind of how it’ll look. How the interchange will look,” INDOT Communications Director Mallory Duncan said. “It’s been four months since we closed the North Split this week, so that’s really exciting for us to have something to show off. We’ve had a full summer of construction.”

In the four months the split has been closed, crews have been busy building and destroying.

“There are a lot of things that you can see if you do drive through the area. Even in downtown Indy, you can see our new four pillars that will become the new I-65,” Duncan said. “We also have a lot of demolition going on. That is basically what we’re doing but right now, since we’re in the middle of demo it’s really hard, you know, to tell exactly how far along we are.”

The area around the split which once was I-65 & I-70, have been mostly razed, to prepare for what is to come but much of the physical construction or pouring of cement or asphalt can’t be done until next spring or summer. 

But there’s still plenty to be done when the weather turns cool.

“You’ll see a lot of activity, more so in the Indianapolis area than you normally would in the winter months,” Duncan said. “Usually our construction season goes from about March to November… which is most of the year depending on the weather in Indiana and while you’re likely used to those orange barrels in the summer… you may not be as used to them in the winter, but they’re still gonna be there at the North Split.”

Duncan says crews will continue demolition work in the winter months, she says while the site will remain busy, not as many crews will be present.

“As we move into winter months and you may not as much going on in the North Split, rest assured, lots of things will still be happening there,” Duncan said. “It may be out of what necessarily is construction season but we are gonna see some local closures as part of the North Split as we continue to do demo cause we can’t demo over live traffic.”

While it is still too early for INDOT to say whether they are on-schedule or not definitively, Duncan believes they’re heading in the right direction at this first milestone juncture. 

“Right now since we’re in the middle of demo it’s really hard, you know, to tell exactly where we are,” Duncan said. “We are aiming to get this done by November of 2022 but that 18 months is not an arbitrary number. That includes weather days, that includes you know, everything that could happen, so we’re gonna try to stick to that schedule as closely as possible.”

This week large machinery will be moving throughout the city near the construction site, Duncan says most of this will be done on local roads that are already closed to traffic, but on the off chance you drive by INDOT machinery, Duncan asks that you give them space to operate. 

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