Indianapolis, central Indiana, road construction delays to freeways

INDIANAPOLIS — Circle City drivers will have to get through the whole winter before the North Split interchange reopens to traffic.

This is now the second announced delay in about a month for what is now a two-year construction project.

In early November, INDOT said the North Split would not reopen in early 2023 as planned. Instead, some parts of the work would extend into 2023, with new plans to reopen the interchange for construction in early 2023.

But on Friday INDOT announced a new plan for reopening North Split.

“We expect the interchange to be fully open by the end of April,” said INDOT spokeswoman Natalie Garrett.

Garrett said INDOT expects to open the interchange’s I-70 movements in early to mid-January and I-65 movements before May.

INDOT said supply chain issues and staffing issues over the past 18 months have forced them to change the original plan, despite what they have tried to mitigate those challenges.

“We have expanded our procurement of materials and cast a broader net to get these supplies for the project,” said Garrett. “We have also adjusted the work phases as needed and brought in additional subcontractors and crews as we have more manpower to continue the progress of the project.”

Drivers we spoke to said they weren’t surprised by another delay.

Kevin Donohue said he is avoiding construction on North Split and that the closure has added 15 minutes to his commute. He is concerned about winter weather further delaying a reopening date.

“We haven’t hit winter yet, so you know that’s coming,” Donohue said.

Garrett said they’re hoping for a milder winter and will take advantage of any day that the weather is nice enough for crews to get their jobs done.

“Some of the work, particularly the pouring, is dependent on temperature and weather,” Garrett said.

Christine Caltoum said she doesn’t drive around the North Split site often but is still noticing the impact.

“I live downtown and work downtown, so I don’t drive often.” She said. “I’m just involved in the construction going on in this area.”

Although she only drove downtown, Caltoum said construction truck traffic added to her commute time.

“It makes the construction traffic around the house a lot heavier and the noise is also quite annoying,” Caltoum said.

Garrett said portions of the project will open in stages as segments are completed.

“Which should mean less impact on local streets for downtown residents and businesses,” Garrett said.

Caltoum said she hopes for no further delays on that final date, especially since the new end date is awfully close to May and Indy 500 time in the county seat.

“We just have to keep our fingers crossed that it’s ready in April,” Caltoum said.

When traffic resumes on the North Split, it does not mean the end of the entire project. INDOT said there is still more beautification and road link work to be done.