INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Transportation officials urged drivers to brace themselves Monday for significantly more traffic on and around I-65, more than a week after portions of the interstate were shut down for a bridge repair project.
The closures began the week of Independence Day, coinciding with vacations for thousands of local drivers. Their return to work could send delay times soaring for unprepared commuters, according to Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) officials.
“Downtown commuters should continue to leave early and allow extra time,” an INDOT spokesperson said. “Continue to identify at least one, if not two, alternate routes.”
However, roads leading to several detours were backed up Monday morning ahead of peak rush hour, as early as 7:30. News 8 crews observed traffic at a standstill for nearly half a mile at the Washington Street exit off northbound I-65.
INDOT released a list of three specific areas that could see additional delays Monday afternoon:
- 10th Street between West Street and the I-65/I-70 North Split
- 11th Street near Delaware Street
- 21st Street between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street and Meridian Street
The agency’s traffic management team shared the following recommendations as construction entered its second week:
- Drivers on West Street trying to reach eastbound I-70 can travel south to New York Street, then east to Pine Street and north, past Michigan Street, to I-70.
- Eastbound drivers on 21st Street are encouraged to use southbound Capitol Avenue to access downtown, in order to avoid delays on 21st Street.
- Drivers trying to reach northbound I-65 in the afternoon are encouraged to use Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street to access I-65 at exit 117, north of 30th Street. An alternative is traveling north on Illinois Street and west on 30th Street to reach northbound I-65.
Despite traffic woes, construction is continuing at an “accelerated pace,” according to INDOT, and should be completed in time to reopen I-65 on – or before – August 5.