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New Red Line buses are too heavy for some city streets

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It was just three years ago that several downtown Indianapolis streets were closed for the building of the Red Line. IndyGo has now closed several of their stations along the Red Line for reconstruction and “enhancements.”

“It looks like they are wasting taxpayers’ money, that’s what it looks like. I thought it was already done,” Sean Booker who works a few blocks from the Red Line station at 14th and Capitol, said.   

Capitol Ave. from 16th street to Washington Street looks like the Red Line is still under construction. The entire Red Line bus lane on Capitol Ave. is closed as contractors remove cracked concrete and repair damaged asphalt caused by Red Line buses.  For daily riders, the construction is confusing.  

“They are just tearing it up as fast as [they] built it up,” Indianapolis resident, Shenka Howard, said.

IndyGo says station enhancements include new rub rails to protect buses as they approach the stations. Contractors are removing the existing concrete pads that have cracked under the weight of the buses. The new concrete pads will be 9 inches thick with a more robust gravel base for added support. I-Team 8 asked IndyGo to explain.

There was a consensus between IndyGo and DPW when the Red Line was designed and built that the concrete work conducted around the pads and dedicated bus lanes was sufficient at the time. Now, we have an opportunity to enhance the stations, the pavement, and concrete pads in step with our ongoing maintenance for the line and incorporate these best practices into the design and construction of the Purple Line. IndyGo puts a high importance on route maintenance as well as rider comfort.  These changes will help to ensure a smooth ride as well as add improved protection to the stations and the surrounding pavement that have seen major deterioration within the dedicated bus lanes along Capitol, College, and Meridian.”

IndyGo Spokesperson

IndyGo discovered the problem last fall as ruts developed in the bus lanes and concrete started to crack. IndyGo would not say how many of the stations are affected. I-Team 8 was told the repairs will cost $5,147,025.38.   

DPW told I-Team 8 that IndyGo is responsible for pavement in the redline lanes and concrete pads at the stations.  

“The redline was supposed to be complete and that is why we opened up and started riding,” Howard said.

I-Team 8 is told the new blue and purple line stations will be built to the new specifications with thicker concrete.