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Impact of North Split shutdown on downtown streets, I-465 concerns motorists

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — With the 18-month closure of the North Split nearly underway, drivers were planning their detours.

Crews hope to completely rebuild the interchange. Starting early Saturday before dawn and ending in the following two days, Indiana Department of Transportation will begin to shut down portions of I-65 and I-70, the interstates that come together in the North Split.

Lani Mayer, who drove in to Indianapolis from Pennsylvania on Friday, said that the detour signs “were saying after Exit … I forget the exit number … that they were going to close it until 2022, and I am, like, whew, that seems like a really long time.”

Brandon Thomas, a student at the University of Indianapolis, was not expecting much problem getting from A to B when the shutdown happens. “It won’t be too bad for me personally, but I know for other people trying to get to the airport and all that other stuff, trying to get home to Chicago and other places, it is definitely going to be a struggle to try and get around for 18 months.”

While drivers who typically use the North Split will feel the most inconvenience, driving around I-465 and on downtown streets is also expected to be backed up for motorists who, for example, use Delaware Street as an alternative to I-65 to travel north and south through downtown.

Bryce Logan, UIndy student, said, “Trying to find a detour and going already down Delaware, that is already kind of a construction zone in itself, a construction nightmare.”

Emyrald Ceeley commutes into downtown using I-465, INDOT’s official detour around the construction. Ceeley added that the closure will make driving downtown and on I-465 “10 times worse. It is already pretty bad. I have noticed at least when I go to work with all of the construction that they have going on I am always rerouting and there is always kind of a cluster of people.”

The detour headaches, some say, could also impact whether people choose to go downtown for restaurants, bars and entertainment. “You are definitely going to have to think about it a little bit more. It is not just going to be a spontaneous trip of ‘Hey, let’s go downtown for the night.’ It is going to be like ‘All right, we are going to have to leave at 6 instead of 8,'” Thomas said.

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