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North Split opening to close I-65 ramp; decades-old business concerned

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Drivers can expect to see fewer orange barrels in the next few days in downtown Indianapolis, but the owners of a decades-old business are concerned about the impact.

Interstate 65 through the North Split interchange with I-70 is expected to reopen by Monday after facing delays and more closures. Indiana Department of Transportation officials say all I-65 northbound and southbound lanes will open if weather permits.

The $320 million effort began in 2020. I-70 has already reopened in both directions between the South and North splits.

Drivers can expect to see multiple short-term lane restrictions as crews install pavement markings and move barrels to open lanes. Also, motorists can travel along I-65 through the North Split interchange in both directions.

INDOT on Thursday reminded drivers that once the North Split opens, I-65 southbound via the Delaware/11th Street ramp will no longer be available and access to the Merdian/Pennslyvania Street exit will only be available through I-65 northbound.

For the owners of Leon Tailoring, the North Split construction was some of the worst road work since they began operating in 1905.

Norman Ettinger, co-owner of Leon Tailoring, said, “This is what’s caused the most headaches that we’ve had. The more they cut off the streets, the more they — or ‘block the streets,’ I should say — the more they have the headaches.”

His brother and co-owner of Leon Tailoring, Larry Ettinger, said, “This is a major cut-off because now this is a permanent cut-off to the point where you absolutely cannot go south from downtown unless you go searching for another exit somewhere else. This is not right.”

Larry and Norman say the closure will impact the business on Delaware Street near the ramp.

“People bring us pants, suits to remake, totally recut. There’s no one who can do that. We are the experts in that area, but, on the other hand, people that don’t want to fight this traffic pattern with the interstate they have here and then how to figure out how to get back south. We have customers coming from north, south, east, and west,” Larry said.

They say INDOT has failed to connect and keep them informed on the North Split construction.

“They just don’t seem to care. We exist, we pay taxes, but, however, as far as their caring if we exist or don’t exist, the answer to that is ‘no,’” Larry said.

Drivers can access downtown via these roadways:

  • I-70 WB collector/distributor (C/D) exit ramp to Michigan Street  
  • I-65 NB/ I-70 EB exit ramp to Washington Street  
  • I-70 WB to Martin Luther King, Jr./West Street  
  • I-65 SB to Meridian Street  
  • I-65 SB to West Street 
  • All existing ramps on I-70 west of the South Split   

The I-65 SB to C/D movement, Ohio Street exit ramp, and Meridian/Pennsylvania exit ramp remain under construction. All ramps and movements are expected to open by the end of May.

News 8’s Daja Stowe and Gregg Montgomery contributed to this report.