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Everything you need to know as the North Split closes for 18 months

On Saturday, May 15, INDOT closed the second most-used interchange in Indiana for 18 months.

INDIANAPOLIS — The North Split is now closed for more than a year.

Located north of downtown Indianapolis, the interchange is the second busiest in the state. 

In short, getting around Indianapolis will look a lot different, and I-465 will become drivers' new best friend as multiple entrances in and out of downtown close. 

Here are some of your most common questions about the project, answered. 

What is the North Split Project?

The project will upgrade the interchange where I‑65 and I‑70 meet in downtown Indianapolis.  

This is the first project to completely reconstruct the interchange, bridges and pavement along the North Split since it was built in 1968, according to INDOT. 

What is all closed, and what will remain open?

I-70 westbound:

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

I-70 eastbound:

  • Will be closed to I-70 eastbound thru traffic and to I-65 northbound (from the South Split)
  • 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 interchanges with West, Illinois, and Meridian streets on the south side  can access I-65 southbound and I-65 northbound to Washington Street.

I-65 northbound:

  • Will be closed to I-65 northbound thru traffic and to I-70 eastbound (from the South Split)
  • Will be accessible from the North Illinois Street on ramp
  • Will remain open through the South Split up to the Washington Street exit

I-65 southbound:

  • Will be closed to I-65 southbound thru traffic and to I-70 westbound
  • Will be accessible from the Washington Street entrance ramp

Aside from a 45-day closure in the Fall of 2021, I-65 southbound will be open to the following routes: 

  • I-70 eastbound 
  • From the West Street entrance ramp to I-70 eastbound only 
  • From the Delaware Street entrance ramp to I-70 eastbound only

Drivers will still have access in and out of downtown via the I-70 westbound ramp to Michigan or Ohio streets, and the Pine Street entrance ramp to I-70 eastbound.

What will be changed or worked on?

The North Split interchange will be reconfigured and reconstructed, but that isn't all. New pavement will be put in throughout the area. 

Entrance and exit ramps will be replaced or reconfigured.

INDOT will also add 44 new bridges and rehabilitate six others. 

Credit: INDOT
This detailed project overview provided by INDOT shows some specific locations where The North Split will be renovated.

Why is this happening now?

The North Split is old, congested, and deteriorating, according to INDOT. 

"What we're looking at here is the end of a life cycle," INDOT spokesperson Mallory Duncan said. 

INDOT documents from last year showed the North Split project team analyzed crashes in that area for four years, from 2012 to 2016. 

The crash rates per 100 million vehicle miles traveled were determined for fatality, injury, and property damage crashes. 

This crash at the north split ended in a serious injury.

The team found the North Split crash rate was higher in all categories than crash rates on other urban interstates in Indiana. 

Property damage crashes were about 2.3 times higher, and injury crashes were 2.8 higher. 

What areas of Indianapolis will be affected the most?

Travel through downtown will completely change for more than a year because of the project. 

Beginning Saturday, May 15, the North Split will close from Meridian Street to East Washington Street. That means drivers won't be able to access East Washington Street, Fletcher Avenue, or Ohio Street from those areas. 

What are some good detours?

Drivers can still access downtown through the I-70 westbound ramp to Michigan or Ohio Streets and can leave downtown via the Pine Street entrance ramp to I-70 eastbound.

If traveling from the northwest side, instead of using I-65, use I-465 and take I-70 eastbound to the South Split. Then head southbound onto I-65.

RELATED: North Split detours start this weekend until late next year

If taking I-65 north from the south side, take I-65 northbound to the South Split. Then take I-70 westbound to I-465 northbound.

If traveling from the east side, instead of using I-70, take I-465 southbound around to the southwest side, to get back onto I-70.

There are some travel lanes that will remain open. I-65 southbound to I-70 eastbound will stay open and I-70 westbound to I-65 northbound will remain open.

See a more detailed visual of which areas will remain open here.

How much does this project cost?

INDOT is investing $320 million in the project. 

Have more questions about the North Split? Visit INDOT's website to track your route now.

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