Major I-465 construction from 86th Street to U.S. 31 being planned

Nathan Law

The Indiana Department of Transportation is beginning a public conversation about a new project  being planned for an 8-mile stretch of the northwest portion of Interstate 465 extending from 86th Street to North Meridian Street, or US-31. Half of the bridges in that span have less than 5 years of life […]

The Indiana Department of Transportation is beginning a public conversation about a new project  being planned for an 8-mile stretch of the northwest portion of Interstate 465 extending from 86th Street to North Meridian Street, or US-31.

Half of the bridges in that span have less than 5 years of life left, some interchange designs are “less than desirable,” and most sections are headed toward traffic-flow breakdown if changes aren’t made, project managers said Wednesday during the first public meeting on the subject.

INDOT and consultants Parsons and HNTB Corporation are merely at the study phase, which means they are still determining the needs of the corridor. The study area also extends half a mile onto I-865 and includes three I-465 interchanges.

While project managers offered a glimpse at what needs fixing, an actual project design is still at least a year or two away, and construction is even farther out.

Here’s what we know so far.

Where exactly is the new project?

The study area begins at 86th Street, which intersects with I-465 just below the northwest tip of the loop. It includes the I-465/I-865 interchange, and half a mile of I-865 to the west. On I-465, the project currently extends east past the North Meridian Street interchange to North College Avenue to account for work potentially needed to reconnect improved roadways to existing ones. 

The study area for improvements to the northwest portion of I-465, presented to the public on Sept. 8, 2021.

The project touches three counties — Boone, Hamilton and Marion — and three cities: Carmel, Indianapolis and Zionsville. It includes three interchanges: I-865, North Michigan Road and North Meridian Street.

What’s causing the work?

Congestion

Consultants say congestion issues are only projected to get much worse.

They studied traffic flow along eight sections of the roadway in February 2020. On a grading scale of A to F — where A is free-flowing traffic with no restrictions on movement, and F is a total traffic breakdown where small incidents lead to major backups — five of the eight sections scored D or worse. Those five sections — mainly from the I-865 interchange to just before the Meridian Street interchange — are projected to score an F by 2045. A grade of “D” is INDOT’s minimum target for this project, while “C” is desired.

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