INDIANAPOLIS -- Many long-standing Indianapolis neighborhood groups have opposed the proposed overhaul for the North Split.
Last year, INDOT recommended a $250 million plan to reconstruct the North Split, due to the deterioration of bridges and pavement, and to ease congestion. The North Split was built 50 years ago and is nearing the end of its useful life. The interchange is one of the busiest in Indiana.
INDOT wants to start the remake of the North Split by 2020. It would expand lanes, exit ramps, and butt the highway and walls up to popular neighborhoods. INDOT is also discussing diverting truck and other traffic away from downtown and onto I-465, and creating boulevards and lower tunnels that are residential-friendly and not as noisy.
But the Historic Urban Neighborhoods of Indianapolis released a statement on the plans, urging INDOT to address the community issues and environmental concerns with the neighborhoods.
"The current plan is an archaic, 1960s-era model of transportation planning. The impact on Downtown caused by the project’s widened bridges, added lanes and tall retaining walls will be devastating. The project will even further separate Downtown from its adjoining districts and historic neighborhoods that had been so impacted by the original interstate configuration fifty years ago."
In January, many community members raised their own concerns about the INDOT overhaul in a community meeting.
"It seems to me the main concern is the impact on their neighborhoods," Marj Sparks said. "They're going to be losing a lot of greenway that has come to be with efforts of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful over the last few years, and replaced with high cement walls."