INDIANAPOLIS — The full closure of the North Split is coming this weekend, and it will stay closed for 18 months.
Signs are up along I-65 & I-70 letting you know where to detour.
Law enforcement and safety officials have been planning for months on how to get around while keeping you safe. For the most part, they say it will be business as usual.
“It’s a fair amount of business as usual in that we are in constant communication with the city,” said Brian Van Bokkelen, public affairs manager at Indianapolis EMS. “This is not anything that we haven’t prepared for before, this is nothing that we haven’t had to deal with before.
“I mean, construction is a normal occurrence. We’re prepared to deal with this and make sure that there is no slowdown or this doesn’t effect patient care in any way.”
A large part of that promise will depend on detoured drivers paying attention to first responders as all traffic is rerouted to smaller, more congested city streets and side roads while the highway is closed.
“We know these streets as good if not better than anyone, and I would say probably 90% of the time they’re using city streets and side roads on normal responses regardless,” Van Bokkelen said. “But this should be top of mind all the time.
“Be aware. If you [hear] us coming, whether it be one of the Indianapolis EMS ambulances, whether it be an IFD apparatus, an IMPD vehicle, if we’re coming, lights and sirens on, pull over and get out of the way please.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by IMPD. It’s also the law.
“It’s always, always important to, once you see those lights, when you can, move over safely as quickly as you can,” IMPD Public Information Officer William Young said. “There won’t be a decrease in response time.
“We’ll be as receptive and responsive as we can to those calls as we’ve planned, as should you to provide enough time for you to get to your destination. Don’t rush. We understand there’s going to be a lot of traffic out.”
You can count the days on one hand when the second busiest interchange in Indiana will grind to a halt.
“The first couple weeks are gonna be the biggest headache for everyone,” INDOT Communications Director Mallory Duncan told FOX59.
The multi-month closure of the southbound lanes of I-65 & I-70 are sure to be a Hoosier headache, but INDOT says there’s still time to be prepared.
“We all know it’s coming. We have all known that it’s going to be here, and it’s finally here. Start planning your routes now,” Duncan said. “We’re literally building everything up from the ground. Replacing all of these bridges — over 40 bridges — and all new pavement, obviously. We know when we close down a major interchange like this, it’s gonna cause some headaches.”
INDOT has been in talks with Apple Maps, Google Maps, Waze and other mapping services to stay up to date on the closure. Duncan says these handy apps will be ready to guide you come Saturday when the closure begins.
“Use your phone. Obviously, don’t touch it while your driving cause we’re hands free in this state, but that should be a huge help,” Duncan said. “You could also pull out a paper map and plan ahead too.
“Drive the route so you’re confident when the closure comes, because when it’s done, this interchange is going to be a lot safer, a lot less congested, and it means that you’re gonna get to work quicker. You’re gonna be able to pick up your kids faster, and it’ll just be hopefully better for all Hoosiers that travel through it.”
The North Split is scheduled to close Saturday and Sunday, May 15 and 16. It’s a staggered event because INDOT says it will take that long to fully close the interchange.
Additional project information can be found at northsplit.com.