Why is all this construction happening now? INDOT explains

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Things are about to get really crazy in Marion County when INDOT launches a series of construction projects all at once beginning July 12.

The projects will essentially shut down I-65 south from the North Split all the way to I-465 on the south side.

There will also be closures on I-65 south of I-465, I-65 north of the North Split, an I-65 closure from I-465 to I-865 on the northwest side, lane closures on on I-465 and I-69 on the northeast side, and lane closures on I-465 on the northwest side.

Whew! That's a lot and that doesn't even cover some of the other minor work, like with ramp closures.

This all brings us to the question, "Why all of this and why now?"

The answer has a couple parts so stay with us here.

Gas Tax

In 2017, lawmakers passed House Enrolled Act 1002. It was designed to raise extra funds to repair the state’s crumbling roads and bridges.

At first it raised the gas tax by ten cents and then can add an additional cent each year on July 1.

The money generated by the tax increase is expected to create $1.2 billion in additional revenue by 2024.

$350 million of the revenue will go for local roads.

$850 million in funding will go towards state roads and bridges.

With that money the Governor set forward his "Next Level Roads" plan.

Using existing funds and that new money, the state is expected to spend $2 billion on road construction projects across Indiana just this year!

A huge chunk of that money is going to Marion County.

More money means more construction projects, which means more headaches for drivers.

Remember our rainy spring?

It's hard to remember with all the dry, 90-degree days we've had recently, but we had a very rainy spring.

All that rain was more than the rainy days that INDOT had planned for.

Work that was supposed to happen each weekend (and could have been done by now) got pushed back.

For planning purposes, INDOT is now faced with a tight construction schedule that relies on July and August to be the driest months.

Nasty winters

For two years in a row our winters have been nasty on the roads.

We've seen freeze and thaw events happen over and over and sometimes every few days.

All of that led to those thousands of potholes we were all dodging and cursing.

INDOT wants to handle that by essentially fixing all the big problem spots at once, instead of a little each year while the other spots get worse.

Where we go from here

We are basically under a huge maintenance project. One that INDOT hopes will not happen again thanks to the gas tax funding allowing more reliable, regular maintenance.

By this fall, INDOT hopes you will notice the difference as your commute is along new, smooth roads.

By the spring, there should also be fewer potholes to patch.

INDOT is also preparing for major projects coming that rely on all of this work being completed.

That includes I-69 coming up from the south into Indianapolis, changes at the North Split and a closure in just four weeks of I-465 on the southeast side.

Conclusion

Things are going to...well...be rough for a few weeks or months.

But for the most part INDOT is promising a real difference by the fall and more regular maintenance to keep things from getting this bad again.

All we can do now is pump the brakes, look for detours, be patient and remember all of this if our highways end up riddled with potholes again in the spring (cause we'll be calling INDOT).

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