INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Department of Transportation hopes to hear from drivers Wednesday night.
A public virtual meeting is planned for 6 p.m.
INDOT plans to talk about closing the I-65/I-70 North Split Interchange, which is planned for sometime in mid or late May and will last for 18 months. Those who attend Wednesday’s meeting can ask questions and get more insight on the project and its plans.
“The North Split is the second heaviest traveled interchange on a day-to-day basis,” said Communications Director Mallory Duncan. “We made a lot of spot improvements to signals in downtown Indianapolis, and the surrounding area, this past summer. That’s going to help with congestion when we do close the North Split. It’s already helped with congestion, with construction there, so far.”
Wednesday’s meeting focuses on the game plan to address traffic concerns along the main detour when the split closes. Duncan says they plan to send drivers to I-465, which only adds about five minutes to your commute.
Along with ramp closures to help ease expected congestion, INDOT plans to enforce temporary ramp metering. That’s a traffic signal idea used in other states. Drivers will notice the change along the southside.
“When you’re entering the interstate, it monitors speeds,” said Duncan. “It can change speeds of traffic so people can merge safely and quickly.”
While the concept is new in Indiana, Duncan says it’s proven successful in other areas. She says INDOT is taking what they learned from surrounding states and applying it here.
Duncan says they’ll monitor the change for 18 months. Since it’s only temporary and specifically for this project, there’s room to make changes if needed.
“We can do models all we want,” Duncan said. “We have wonderful people who can do that. They can plan everything out, but until we actually close the North Split, we won’t exactly know what traffic will be like. So that’s why there’s flexibility there, and there needs to be.”
INDOT says the project is 50 years in the making. Construction started in December 2020.
Duncan says crews are redoing all 40 bridges, as well as improving convenience and safety measures like eliminating what’s called “weaving”.
“I think of when you have to go all the way over to the Meridian Street exit,” Duncan said, “That weave will be eliminated because people are having to cross four, or five, lanes of traffic to get to their exit and that’s just not safe.”
Duncan says the project should wrap up in fall 2022. While drivers are in for a long wait, INDOT says the changes are necessary.
“We’re at the limit of the life of the concrete, the bridges, the pavements,” Duncan said. “That’s going to be all redone. So now, generations to come are going to have this beautiful interchange and hopefully keep people safe.
“We know it’s going to be a pain for the next 18 months,” she added. “But we promise, when it’s done, it’ll be safer. The congestion will be down so your commute can be a lot better.”
You can learn more about the North Split project and keep up with its progress on the official website. That’s where you can also find the link to register for Wednesday’s public virtual forum.