North Split closure forces drivers to take alternative routes

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The North Split is officially closed for the next year and a half. That means on Monday morning drivers will need to detour into downtown Indianapolis.

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) closed the state’s second-busiest interchange over the weekend for a massive overhaul project that will change drivers’ commute if they use I-70 or I-65 into downtown Indianapolis.

Drivers are encouraged to plan their new commute. I-65 and I-70 will be shut down from the North Split to Washington Street. That means people will be driving on city streets. However, which roads all depends on which direction and what interstate drivers are taking. 

If possible, INDOT encourages drivers to avoid the North Split altogether and use I-465 instead.

INDOT said the project will likely last for the next 18 months. The goal is to improve the design and update old bridges and road sections. The state said the interchange was built nearly 50 years ago and updates are needed.

The detours theoretically will only add about five minutes to driver’s commutes, however with increased traffic, plus other construction on city streets, this could mean a lot more time added to the daily drive.

Last week, WISH-TV’s Mobile News Tracker tested out the drives during the morning commute. With the interstates open, I-70 Westbound and I-70 Eastbound each took about 4.5 minutes to get through. I-65 Northbound and I-65 Southbound were both about 3-minute drives.

News 8 tested out the I-70 West, I-70 East, I-65 South and I-65 North detours without added traffic. 

The I-70 West detour is the Ohio Street Exit, to North Park Avenue, then Washington Street and back on I-70 West. This detour took News 8 a total of 5 minutes and 45 seconds, adding about 1 minute to the commute.

The I-70 East detour takes drivers through the South Split and then forces them off the interstate at Washington Street. Next, it’s onto College Ave, which is a one-way, then onto New York Street and finally, drivers can take Pine Street back onto I-70 East. This detour took News 8 a total of 8 minutes and 38 seconds, adding about 4 minutes to the commute.

The I-65 South detour means drivers will have to avoid the North Split altogether. The best detour downtown is on West Street to I-70 and then back on I-65 through the South Split. This detour took News 8 a total of 7 minutes and 42 seconds, about 4.5 minutes added to the commute.

The I-65 North detour takes drivers through the South Split then exit onto Missouri/ West Street through downtown and back onto I-65. This detour took News 8 a total of 8 minutes and 45 seconds. That’s about 5.5 minutes added to the commute.

INDOT says, all the detours should only add about 5 minutes, however early growing pains of increased traffic are expected to cause longer delays.

In hopes of alleviating some of the congestion INDOT and Indy DPW have reworked traffic signals through downtown to improve their timing to better serve the increased traffic.

For people walking, their will be a new Monon loop as a detour for pedestrians.

Construction is expected to wrap up by the Fall of 2022. People are encouraged to visit the North Split project webpage for more information and can sign up for North Split updates here.

To help drivers prepare for the upcoming closure of the North Split, below is an overview of the interstate impacts and how travel will be maintained throughout construction.  

I-70 westbound:

  • Will remain open at the Keystone interchange
  • Will remain open to I-65 northbound
  • Will remain open to either the Michigan or Ohio Street exits via collector/distributor
  • Will be accessible from Washington Street entrance ramp
  • Will be closed to I-70 westbound through traffic and to I-65 southbound

I-70 eastbound:

  • Will be accessible from Pine Street entrance ramp. (There will be detours as the Michigan Street, New York Street and Vermont Street bridges are reconstructed, but the Pine Street entrance ramp onto I-70 eastbound will remain open.)
  • From the airport, all exits remain open for eastbound traffic up to Washington Street
  • The West, Illinois and Meridian Street interchanges (south side) can access I-65 southbound and I-65 northbound to Washington Street
  • Will be closed to I-70 eastbound through traffic and to I-65 northbound

I-65 northbound:

  • Will be accessible from the North Illinois Street onramp
  • Will remain open through the South Split up to the Washington Street exit
  • Will be closed to I-65 northbound through traffic and to I-70 westbound

I-65 southbound:

  • Will remain open to I-70 eastbound (except closed for 45 days in Fall 2021)
  • Will be accessible from the West Street entrance ramp to I-70 eastbound only (except closed for 45 days in Fall 2021)
  • Will be accessible from the Delaware Street entrance ramp to I-70 eastbound only (except closed for 45 days in Fall 2021)
  • Will be accessible from the Washington Street entrance ramp

Local streets crossing under the interstate will be closed for overhead construction work – durations vary.

For up-to-date project information, visit Northsplit.com or text “NORTHSPLIT” to 468311. Follow the North Split project’s progress on social media at:

Stay informed
Indiana motorists can monitor road closures, road conditions, and traffic alerts any time throughout the state, here.

For details on the lane restrictions and closures associated with the current work, please visit 511 Cars for more information.


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