North Split closure: Here's what to know about detours, traffic, more
The interchange that carries more than 200,000 people daily is nearing the end of its structural life. See it from a bird’s eye view. Indianapolis Star
Update: The closure began the weekend of May 15. Click here to see what the city is saying about traffic.
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Say goodbye to the North Split as you know it.
The state’s second-busiest interchange will be closed for 18 months beginning this Saturday, weather permitting.
The long-anticipated, $320 million project began mid-January, aiming to rebuild old roads and bridges and improve the interchange’s “abrupt curve” design. It’s also dangerous, according to Indiana Department of Transportation numbers that show crash rates more than twice as high as the state’s other urban interstates.
What to know: $320M North Split reconstruction project
Which parts of the I-65/I-70 north split will close?
Though Indianapolis traffic has already been impacted by closures related to the project, this upcoming closure is the big one, impacting as many as 200,000 vehicles each day.
During this closure, expected to last until June 2022, I-65 and I-70 between the North Split and Washington Street will be fully closed to all traffic.
Here’s what else you need to know:
- Westbound and eastbound I-70 will be closed to through traffic, which will be routed around I-465.
- Northbound and southbound I-65 will be closed to through traffic, which will be routed through the South Split, I-70 and I-465.
- Drivers southbound on I-65 will not be able to enter westbound I-70.
- Drivers northbound on I-65 will not be able to enter eastbound I-70.
- The Michigan Street exit is currently closed, but it is scheduled to reopen in early June, when the Ohio Street exit will close for reconstruction.
See an INDOT map of what will close.
Two entrance ramps onto I-465 will be closed to allow for greater traffic flow and speed, INDOT officials announced in late April:
- East Street heading southbound/eastbound,
- Pendleton Pike heading southbound.
These closures will be in effect for the full length of the North Split reconstruction project.
Does that mean detours?
Yes, but mostly on I-465:
- Drivers headed on the southbound/eastbound entrance ramp from East Street will be detoured in the other direction along I-465 to make a U-turn at Harding Street.
- Drivers on the Pendleton Pike entrance ramp heading southbound will be redirected along Pendleton Pike and Shadeland Avenue to I-70 and eventually return to I-465.
Local streets under the interstate may also be closed for overhead construction work, but the closure durations will vary, according to INDOT. Daytime traffic has been limited on Central Avenue, for example, to allow work crews to drive supports into the ground.
Vehicles driving through the city on I-70 will be routed around the south side of I-465.
Through traffic on I-65 will use I-465 and I-70. Driving northbound, I-65 vehicles will go through the South Split to I-70 then up I-465. Driving southbound, I-65 vehicles will go down I-465 to I-70 then through the South Split back to I-65.
Which parts of the interchange will be open?
Drivers will still be able to access downtown using the westbound I-70 exit ramp to Michigan or Ohio streets. Crews will eventually rebuild both of those exits, but one will remain open at all times.
Drivers leaving downtown will still be able to use the Pine Street entrance ramp to eastbound I-70.
Two connections will remain open to traffic: the I-65 southbound to I-70 eastbound connection and the I-70 westbound to I-65 northbound connection.
- Here’s where to enter I-70 to go west: the Keystone interchange, the Washington Street entrance ramp, or via I-65 northbound traffic.
- Here’s where to enter I-70 to go east: the Pine Street entrance ramp. All eastbound exits from the airport to Washington Street will also remain open.
- Here’s where to enter I-65 to go north: the North Illinois Street onramp.
- Here’s where to enter I-65 to go south: the Washington Street entrance ramp or via eastbound I-70. Drivers can also enter through the West Street and Delaware Street entrance ramps, but only if they are on eastbound I-70. Some of these areas will be closed for a portion of time in the fall.
What is INDOT doing to help traffic flow?
INDOT is also planning to install stop-and-go traffic signals on some I-465 entrance ramps to manage the anticipated extra traffic diverted to the roadway.
The strategy will allow drivers to enter the interstate one to two vehicles at a time, instead of multiple vehicles merging on simultaneously, allowing for less congestion.
Ramp changes: Some I-465 ramps will close during North Split work, others will have stoplights
Shorter red lights? A $2.6M project to change how long you sit at red lights
Some upgrades have already occurred. This winter, INDOT and the Indianapolis Department of Public Works upgraded traffic signals around the city to help improve the overall flow of traffic. Crews modified nearly 500 traffic signals around Indianapolis. Most were scheduled for completion by Jan. 31.
What about the Monon Trail?
Currently, a portion of the Monon Trail runs under several interstate bridges, so it will get some upgrades as well.
The trail will be closed in its normal location during reconstruction, but a new Monon Trail loop will serve as a detour.
Set to open in mid-May, the loop will serve both as a detour and as a new permanent section of the trail once the project is complete.
People can continue to access all parks in this area during reconstruction.
How will the reconstruction change Indianapolis traffic?
A project overview from INDOT says the North Split is “at the end of its useful life.”
The reconstruction, aiming to build a new life for the 3.1 miles of roadway, was a project two years in the making. The city hopes to update infrastructure that is more than 50 years old by rebuilding ramps, upgrading 32 bridges and generally improving the flow of traffic. Currently, drivers often have to weave through traffic and merge across multiple lanes to enter or exit a ramp.
Virtual look: See the revamped interchange.
The reconstruction will not add more lanes to the interstate, one of the many points of discussion during the project’s planning phases.
“In addition to its poor physical condition, the interchange configuration is inefficient and poorly suited for the volumes of traffic it is serving,” an INDOT document said.
The rebuilt interchange means more direct ramps and no more “weave,” meaning I-65 traffic does not need to merge lanes to stay northbound, while I-70 traffic does not need to merge lanes to stay eastbound.
When work is finished, drivers from westbound I-70 will no longer be able to access the Pennsylvania Street off-ramp and drivers using the Delaware Street on-ramp will no longer have access to Michigan Street, Ohio Street or Fletcher Avenue. This will also eliminate weave sections, according to INDOT.
As construction takes over the North Split for the next year and a half, INDOT encourages drivers to slow down and drive safely through all work zones.
See an INDOT map of what will change when the project is done.
Reporting from IndyStar’s Sarah Nelson and Ethan May contributed.
Contact IndyStar reporter Rashika Jaipuriar at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @rashikajpr.
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Published at Mon, 17 May 2021 19:42:26 +0000