Commuters prepare themselves for big shift in South Split traffic

INDIANAPOLIS - For thousands of commuters, navigating the South Split of interstates 65 and 70 is a daily occurrence. Their travel plans had to change.

Construction crews began working on the project early Tuesday. The interstate closure, for most commuters, will be at worst an inconvenience.

But more is on the line for Paul Hilligoss.

He suffers from congestive heart failure. Even as he pumps gas, he is attached to machines. He and his wife don't drive the South Split often, but when they do, they are in a hurry.

"The only time we go around that way is, like, when we're rushing him to the hospital,” his wife, Barbara, said.

"She is quicker than the ambulance a lot of times,” Paul said.

For the next two months the Hilligosses and thousands of others will need to have an alternate route.

SOUTH SPLIT PROJECT: Project Area Map | Detour Map

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) said the stretch of interstate would be closed for a scheduled 59-day construction project.

The goal is to dig the road down, giving big rigs more clearance as they pass under several crossing bridges.

"(There are) already a lot of traffic jams coming through there in the evening and in the morning early, so it's going to affect a lot of people," one commuter said.

Monday, just hours before construction starts, closed signs are up and detour information is in place.
The Hilligosses, however, have their other route planned.

"If it's early in the morning you shoot straight through downtown when there isn't (any) traffic,” Barbara said.

"She puts her flashers on and flies," Paul said.

They are hoping it doesn't come to that.

In addition to closing the interstate, INDOT plans to restrict lanes on some city streets.

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