I-65/I-70 Reconstruction Archives

Indiana's much-needed reconstruction of Downtown Indy's interstates in the upcoming decade became a major focus for HUNI's leaders and member neighborhoods starting in Fall 2017. HUNI--along with a handful of other significant institutions--led the effort responsible for creating the I-65/I-70 Rethink Coalition. Below are the articles appearing on the HUNI website related to the Rethink efforts grouped by when the information was added to the HUNI site. It is intended to be a historical archive of both significant documents and thinking at the time. 

Winter 2017-18

I-65/I-70 North Split Expansion & Reconstruction

November 2017...The I-65/I-70 North Split is being reconstructed in Downtown Indianapolis. INDOT has announced plans that will deeply impact historic neighborhoods and potentially harm our city's beauty, livability, and transport. While INDOT's current plan, Alternative 4c, will reduce the heighth of retaining walls and doesn't call for additional through-lanes, it still doesn't go far enough to specifically increased connectivity between neighborhoods and areas of commerce divided by the interstate, or increased opportunities for inclusive economic development along the path of the interstate. We do applaud INDOT for modifying a portion of their plans due to community voices.

The issue cannot be tackled in a few paragraphs. Within the articles below, we have provided you with 1) observations on relevance & urgency of this project; 2) Powerpoint presentations to visualize impacts and share with others concerned; 3) links to the latest articles; 4) summary of how to get involved, including mailing addresses of the Governor's and INDOT Commissioner; 5) a look at what Peer Cities have done with their highways.

ALL neighborhoods affected by this reconstruction are highly encouraged to share with their residents a link to this updated powerpoint presentation. (If the powerpoint file is too large for your internet to download, each of the following links represent pieces of the original powerpoint presentation showing the impact to the Northside and Eastside areas as well as Creative Alternatives and Solutions adopted by Peer Cities.  To download the aforementioned presentations, click on them. Use the back arrow to return to the site to download additional presentations.) To see maps of historic neighborhoods impacted by the North Split reconstruction and expansion, click here.

HUNI's Position Statement

Click on the image below to view and download.

HUNI_Position.png

Joe Hogsett, Mayor of Indianapolis

The Mayor Weighs In

January 24, 2018

Dear Commissioner McGuinness:

As the Indiana Department of Transportation begins in earnest to address the need for intermediate-term bridge repairs along the north and south splits of I-70 and longer-term accommodations for downtown destinations and thru-city traffic, I urge the state to consider a partnership between the City, INDOT, and the Metropolitan Planning Organization to craft a shared vision for the project that considers community impact and benefits of alternative design options....

Read the rest of Mayor Joe Hogsett's letter to INDOT by clicking on the City's Symbol.

Logo for the Rethink 65-70 group.

Rethink I-65/I-70 Dedicated Website

January 2018...The grassroots movement to rethink I-65/I-70 has grown! The coalition has developed a dedicated website for a high level view and resources. There's an excellent FAQ (frequently asked questions) section for a quick summary at present. Be sure to check back for ongoing updates. Click here or on the title/logo to access.

Please continue to refer to our HUNI site for in-depth information and presentation which you can use for neighborhood presentations.

Summary of relevance and urgency of this project

Are you ready to dig into this issue?  Click here for the I-65/I-70 Project Intent Report (PIR) as of January 2018. 

This document is the template for current plan development for the inner loop interstate expansion project which is being implemented incrementally as a series of phased projects. Though discounted as “just a guide,” it is the cornerstone for engineering documents that are at an advanced stage of development. It accurately reflects where the project is headed. The report indicates the overall project extents and probable costs are approximately $671 million, or three times the published North Split cost of approximately $224 million. Note the details of the final segments--from Washington Street south to I-465 and from the South Split west to the Harding Street interchange--are yet to be published. Cost information available to date suggests total project costs could be $1 billion or greater. That same analysis suggests that some portion of $19 million in engineering consultant fees for the North Split segment have already been expended or committed. The incrementally revealed and rapidly advancing overall project thus has the fast approaching momentum of “it’s too late to change” point of no return. HUNI and its collaborative partners fear the incremental public process is unlikely to affect that momentum in other than superficial post-design mitigation measures, such as "beautification," sound barriers, lighting and landscaping.  The time for action is now. Please see ways you can get involved and stay connected in the article above.

Peer cities' residents have successfully collaborated with their Departments of Transportation to mitigate negative impacts of these essential interstate systems. We are organizing and are insisting on the same consideration from the IDOT and from our government leaders. To preserve our Quality of Life, we believe design alternatives must include the reassessment of long-term transportation and community needs before launching the reconstruction.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

Extremely helpful to the collective effort RIGHT NOW are personalized letters to the Governor and INDOT Commissioner emphasizing the need for an independent panel comprised of representatives from the City of Indianapolis, the State (INDOT) and the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). The panel's suggested goal would be to focus on a broader vision that goes beyond vehicular travel and includes economic development, environmental and social justice considerations that achieve a great vision for Indianapolis and Central Indiana. Be sure to indicate whether you are directly affected by this project--because of residency, property ownership, or employment in one of the affected neighborhoods and/or downtown.

Still not sure what to write? We have two sample letters to get you started--but please use your own voice to reflect your personal concerns. Letter One includes a list several talking points. Letter Two references the monumental scope and impact of the project and integrates our theme: 'Rethink 65-70. Build it Right.' Click here for Governor Holcomb's and/or Commissioner McGuinness's address. 

Listserve & Facebook

If you want to receive timely information on this issue as it becomes available, please sign up for the listserve created by a group of concerned residents, contribute to online discussions and share insights via a specially created Facebook page.  INDOT has its own website to share updates. Savvy readers will want to consume information from several points of view to make informed decisions.

Original Online Petition

You can also connect with our original online petition asking INDOT to expand the study of critical design issues geared towards reducing the project’s impact on historic and urban neighborhoods, and better suiting the vibrancy of Downtown Indianapolis. 

Spring 2018

May 2018 INDOT unveils six options for Reconstruction of I-65/I-70

INDOT publicly unveiled six alternatives for reconstruction of I-65/I-70 as it holds a listening session for the community. Rough estimates for inclusion of each alternative as well as estimated time-savings on each alternative are also unveiled. 

Listening to presentations by INDOT? Here's what you need to understand: 

HNTB representatives have said that the INDOT contract for the initial design is to design an above-grade, expanded lanes highway. Those elements are pre-determined for the first 30% of the design-build plans, and are expected to be completed by summer 2018.

FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) generally defers to state transportation planning departments as to project design. The federal government does not dictate that highways be of a certain width or design-style in order to qualify for federal funding. In recent years USDOT, along with HUD, has funded several studies for freeway-to-boulevard conversions. USDOT also has increasingly made funding available for more innovative and progressive transportation design, such as TIFIA financing and through the Center for Innovative Finance Support. INDOT is distributing this fact sheet on the seven system-level options. 

Added Info on Option 4 of INDOT's System-wide Analysis -- A depressed interstate with (or without) a Lid

A lid covers a depressed interstate (yes, we recognize there's a joke in there somewhere). Here are links to several good articles discussing lids to accompany Option 4 (lids can be added at any time if initial funding is limited). Freeway Lids: Reconnecting Communities and Creating New Land Use for Development; Tthe Cap at Union Station (Columbus OH); Dallas's Klyde Warren Park Selected for ULI Urban Open Space Award.

Peer Cities

Peer cities' residents have successfully collaborated with their Departments of Transportation to mitigate negative impacts of these essential interstate systems. We are insisting on the same consideration from INDOT and from our government leaders. To preserve our Quality of Life, we believe design alternatives must include the reassessment of long-term transportation and community needs before launching the reconstruction.

Want to see how other cities have handled their freeways? Check out Freeway Removal Links

Noteworthy Organizations Echo Call for Governor to Act

Throughout 2018, several organizations and individuals joined voices to urge the Governor to establish a joint-committee to study options to rebuild our crumbling interstate infrastructure in a way that not only accommodates commuters passing thru our community, but contemplates those who live, work, play and learn in our urban core every day. Those voices include Mayor Joe Hogsett, CICF President Brian Payne, the American Society of Landscape Architects - Indiana Chapter, and Indiana Supreme Court Justice Randall Shepard.

Freeways--Redefined

Want to see how other cities have handled their freeways? Check out Freeway Removal Links

Summer 2018

Joe Hogsett, Mayor of Indianapolis

The Mayor Weighs In

June 8, 2018

Kia Gillete, Environmental Project Manager, HNTB Corporation

Dear Ms. Gillete:

I appreciate INDOT's willingness to listen to community concerns and conduct a system-wide analysis of the Downtown Indianapolis interstate system. The seven concepts studied give us a sense of what's possible, based on traffic performance, cost, visual and connectivity impacts, and construction timeline.

While the analysis doesn't make any recommendations for a system-wide solution, it is clear there are innovative concepts that improve traffic performance, enhance driver safety, improve visual and/or connectivity impacts, and can be delivered on a reasonable construction timeline....

Read the rest of Mayor Joe Hogsett's letter to INDOT by clicking on the City's Symbol.

Rethink Coalition generates Four Guiding Principals

The Rethink Coalition collectively encompassing over 50 businesses, institutions, community organizations, and neighborhoods continues to convene weekly or bi-weekly meetings as necessary. Members organizations create and adopt the Four Guiding Principals (below) as a fundamental roadmap in discussions with INDOT on attributes the a new, reconstruction interstate should take into consideration.  

Fall 2018

 

I-65/I-70 North Split Current Plan

Announced in September, INDOT's current plan--Alternative 4c--will reduce the height of retaining walls and doesn't call for additional through-lanes, but it still doesn't go far enough to specifically increase connectivity between neighborhoods and areas of commerce divided by the interstate, or increase opportunities for inclusive economic development along the path of the interstate. We do applaud INDOT for modifying a portion of their plans due to community voices. INDOT planned reconstruction of the North-Split will deeply impact historic neighborhoods and potentially harm our city's beauty, livability, and transport.

Fall recap of significant events

On September 10th 2018, Indy’s City-County Council passed a Resolution supporting the efforts of the Rethink 65-70 Coalition as well as adopting the four Guiding Principles for the reconstruction of our interstates in downtown Indianapolis. The four principals are shown in the graphic below.  Rethink and its’ coalition of civic organizations and businesses, at their own expense, engaged Arup, an independent, nationally-renowned transportation planning, design, and engineering firm to assist in evaluating the transportation demands, economic development opportunities, and creative financing potential involved in the reconstruction of I-65 and I-70 in downtown Indianapolis. The results of that Arup study were received in early Nov 2018 and a public info session was held Nov 12 (described in the article at the top of this section).

A few weeks later after the City Council resolution (Sept 28), INDOT unveiled plans for the NorthSplit and gave the community a 30-day comment period, which concluded while the Arup study was underway. In early October, INDOT hosted a second public session to discuss their vision and get public comment. The general consensus from The Rethink Coalition was INDOT's Alternative 4c embraced the first two principles, but the proposed NorthSplit plan lacked the connectivity and economic development principles of the final two principles.  

Based on the Arup findings on Nov 12, the Rethink Coalition asked supporters to reach out to the Governor and INDOT to ask any North-Split reconstruction work not preclude the adoption of a depressed highway and all the economic and quality of life benefits such a reconstruction would allow for the largest economic engine of the state.

International Engineering Firm Arup Group Presents Study to Indy Residents, Businesses and Community Leaders

November 2018...Representatives from Arup Group—an independent, nationally-renowned transportation planning, design, and engineering firm hired by the Rethink Coalition to evaluate the transportation demands, economic development opportunities, and creative financing potential involved in the reconstruction of I-65 and I-70 in downtown Indianapolis—presented key findings on November 12 2018 to the public at Indiana Landmarks. Click here for Arup’s powerpoint presentation. Rethink 65/70 and its coalition of civic organizations and businesses, at their own expense, engaged ARUP, to aid in the vision of what’s possible (and best practice) for this incredibly pivotal moment of Downtown’s history.

The Arup findings envisions a plan that adds value to Indianapolis with new possibilities and opportunities.  It maximizes space by compressing the interstate footprint and pumps economic development impact into our community, creating new land development for an added 3,330 new residential and 6.6 million square feet of new commercial space. Additionally, it could add 83 acres of new development with 95 new parcels of real estate. That would create millions of dollars in land appreciation for existing properties as well as increased property taxes. The design idea proposes below ground (depressed) lanes for through traffic and at-grade local lanes that can ‘exit’ onto the street grid at any intersection. 

While this plan is envisioned for the long haul, we hope tweaks to INDOT’s current plan could accommodate a depressed option for future implementation. Indianapolis is the driving economic engine of the State and it deserves forward-thinking ideas to attract new talent and jobs if we are to remain a vibrant core for surrounding communities. This is a 50 year Quality-of-life issue. It is time to rethink the rebuilding of interstates today!

What can you do?  Please join us in reaching out to both Governor Holcomb and INDOT to request the State to ensure the design of the North-Split interchange does NOT preclude implementation of a depressed highway concept or its associated benefits.

Based on the Arup findings on Nov 12, the Rethink Coalition asked supporters to reach out to the Governor and INDOT to ask any North-Split reconstruction work not preclude the adoption of a depressed highway and all the economic and quality-of-life benefits such a reconstruction would allow for the largest economic engine of the state.

 

Spring 2019

 

HUNI Reps talk on HHL

On March 8, 2019, three HUNI reps spoke with Nelson Price on Hoosier History Live (HHL) regarding the impact of construction on Indy. A link of the podcast is available by clicking here.

An opportunity to share your input--A Vision for Bridges and Interstates Get Neighbors Thinking about Possibilities. 

Four presentations were held by INDOT in Neighborhoods from March 28-April 8 to educate residents and get them thinking about possible designs for urban interstates and accompanying urban bridges. The process is called CSS (Context Sensitive Solutions), and it embraces citizen feedback to guide suggested treatments of (in particular) bridge, interstate embankments and interstate footprints in a more aesthetically-pleasing, neighborhood-friendly methodology. If you missed this opportunity to hear in person but still want to provide feedback, click here for a feedback form. We will post the location if any additional future sessions are scheduled. Northsplit.com has an overview. The Indy Star also summarized this process in an April 8th article. The next step is for Highway Engineers to incorporate suggestions and present a refined preliminary vision, where more community input sessions will be scheduled. (There's also a phase three in with final design would be discussed with residents.) The following neighborhood sessions were held in the initial round.

1) Holy Cross, Cottage Home, Windsor Park and Woodruff Place on March 28 Arsenal Tech High School.

2) Fletcher Place, North Square, Bates-Hendricks and Old Southside neighborhoods and the Stadium Village Business Association on March 29 at Sacred Heart Parish Hall.

3) Lockerbie Square, Chatham Arch on April 2 at the Indianapolis Fire Fighters Museum/ Union Hall.

4) Old Northside, Herron Morton, St Joseph at on April 8 at McGowan Hall.

 

 

News Articles, Blogs, Editorials, Op Eds & TV Coverage

Need to get up to speed? Read these pertinent articles on the topic:

Mar 9, 2019 Hoosier History Live podcast  discussing Impact of Interstate Construction featuring three HUNI representatives.

Dec 27, 2018 Indianapolis Recorder "How I-65/70 shattered black neighborhoods"

Dec 9, 2018 Indy Star opinion "Jim Glass: A historic look at Indianapolis' I-65/70 split"

Nov 12, 2018 Wish-TV "Rethink 65/70 coalition presents north split findings"

Nov 12, 2018 IBJ "Rethink 65/70 group to pitch below ground downtown interstate plan"

Nov 19, 2018 IBJ Podcast "Does inner loop need a 'make under'"

July 29, 2018 The Denver Channel-CBS 7 "Construction of Central 70 Project begins this week"

July 27, 2018 IBJ Opinion "Let's Boost Connectivity, Economic Development" by Paul Knapp

July 18, 2018 RTV6 "Current I-65 construction causing North Split project concerns"

June 15, 2018 IBJ "Editorial: Mayor Hogsett must lead strategy to rethink 65/70"

Bonus article: January 2017 Indianapolis Monthly "The Hoosierist: How Bad is Indy's Traffic?"

June 7, 2018 Indy Star "Mayor Joe Hogsett comes out in support of Rethink 65/70 coalition's vision"

May 21, 2018 Kennedy Blog "A jaundiced look at the world we live in" by Sheila Kennedy

May 11, 2018 IBJ "Don't squander opportunity to rethink I-65/70 project in Downtown Indy" by Brian Payne

May 6, 2018 BusinessInsider.com "American Highways are so expensive that cities are taring them down--here's what they're turning into" by Leanna Garfield

May 3, 2018 Indy Star "INDOT looks at seven different ways to rethink Downtown Indy's North Split"

May 3, 2018 IBJ "INDOT study analyzes options for downtown's controversial north-split revamp"

April 25, 2018 New York Times Op Ed "Cars are Ruining our Cities" by Justin Gillis and Hal Harvey

April 2, 2018 Pew Charitable Trusts's Stateline "More Cities are Banishing Interstates Underground--And Building Parks on Top" by Martha Moore

Mar 16 2018 Indy Star "What you need to know about the I-65/I-70 North Split controversy"

Mar 9 2018 Indy Star "Rebuilding the I-65/I-70 North Split is ‘bigger than Lucas Oil Stadium’’  

Feb 23, 2018 IBJ "URBAN DESIGN: It's our time to reconsider necessity of urban freeways"

Feb 23, 2018 IBJ "Mayor joins critics of downtown north-split interstate plan, seeks new options"

Jan 19, 2018 IBJ "North-split construction critics want more neighborhood-friendly plan"

2017 Congress for the New Urbanism "Freeways Without Futures"

March 2009 Journal of Urbanism "From elevated freeways to surface boulevards: neighborhood and housing price impacts in San Francisco"

December 30, 2017 Los Angeles Times "Freeway pollution travels farther than we thought. Here's how to protect yourself"

Urban Decay "Roads to Nowhere:How Infastructure Built on American Inequality" by Johnny Miller

July 2013* (*older article but extremely relevant) WordPress Rethinking Highways in American Cities by Peter Park

Jan 30, 2018 StreetsBlog USA "Indiana INDOT Wants to Double Down on 1960s-Era Urban Highway"

INDOT "I-65/I-70 North Split Reconstruction"

Sept 19, 2017, Indy Star "Massive Reconstruction Planned for North I-65/I-70 North Split"

Summer 2019

 

Second Round of INDOT CSS Workshops completed after four public listening sessions. Indy residents encouraged to take Survey on North Split by August 31, 2019.

INDOT completed its second round of Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) workshops with a final workshop on August 27. In all there were four CSS presentations in several neighborhoods affected by the I-65/70 reconstruction project. The CSS process embraces citizen feedback to guide suggested treatments of urban interstates, bridges, interstate embankments and interstate footprints in a more aesthetically-pleasing, neighborhood-friendly methodology. In this latest CSS round, INDOT representatives will share preliminary design concepts based on collective outcomes and feedback gathered during the initial workshops held earlier this spring. A copy of the second round presentation is available here.

The online survey was touted to aid INDOT in understanding potential impacts and benefits of the I-65/I-70 North Split Interchange project. This high-profile project in downtown Indianapolis will repair deteriorating bridges, upgrade pavement conditions, and improve traffic flow and safety within Indiana’s second-busiest interchange. Residents were asked to complete the survey by August 31st as well as encouraged other invite Indy residents to give their input to INDOT as well.  

Feedback can be shared either in person at the final CSS Workshop or via the survey 

Spring 2020

 

Public Private Partners Agree to Hire International Infrastructure Consulting Firm Funded by Lilly Endowment

To Rethink 65/70 Coalition Supporters ---February 13, 2020
TODAY WE ARE ABLE to announce a major step toward getting a serious, objective study of the best options for the reconstruction of the downtown I-65/I-70 Inner Loop, aside from the North Split.

The Rethink 65/70 Coalition leadership team has been working for over a year to find funding for such a study. Rethink invited the Indy Chamber and its Foundation to join us in this effort last summer.

Today we are pleased to announce that Lilly Endowment has granted the Indy Chamber Foundation the funds we requested ($475,000) to retain Arup Advisors to conduct the study. Arup is the internationally known infrastructure consultancy that Rethink hired in 2018 to conduct an initial land-use analysis of Inner Loop design alternatives, and it can now conduct a deeper traffic and fiscal analysis of Inner Loop design options.

A copy of the Chamber’s press release is available here. This study has the support of the Mayor’s Office, the Indianapolis City-County Council leadership, the Office of the Governor, and INDOT.

As you know, the Rethink 65/70 Coalition continues to work on downtown I-65/I-70 reconstruction issues facing our community. We do so on two parallel tracks. For the near term, we are engaged with the community to work through the Community Sensitive Solutions (CSS) process and the historic preservation Section 106 process with INDOT and HNTB for the North Split project, which is due to begin construction next year. For the long term, we have been pursuing funding to study Rethink’s proposed Recessed Highway Concept versus traditional elevated highway reconstruction of the rest of the Inner Loop, which will necessarily take place in the next ten years as the existing interstate and bridges reach the end of their lifespan.

Today’s announcement is the achievement of the first step of our long-term goal.

Working with the Indy Chamber, we have assembled a broad-based community, business, and multi-level governmental Advisory Committee to give local expertise and community perspectives into the study, which we anticipate being completed by the end of 2020.

Thank you for your continued support of the Rethink 65/70 Coalition’s efforts to chart a new course for downtown interstate transportation that better serves people, communities, and business for the next 50 years.

~The Rethink 65/70 Coalition Leadership Team

Final INDOT 65/70 North Split Public Meetings Online April 28 & April 30, 2020

INDOT scheduled two VIRTUAL public open houses for the upcoming North Split construction.
Many of you have attended INDOT Public CSS meetings, participating in the feedback for mitigation issues of the construction.

As INDOT is securing the vendor and signed contracts in May for the 2020 North Split construction, this will be an informative virtual meeting of the many decisions that have been made. From the forest of trees and plantings planned for the interchange, to the Monon Trail detour, recommendations for NO noise barriers, connectivity improvements, and Traffic Impacts of construction; YOU WILL WANT TO ATTEND one of these meetings!

The general public was invited to participate in a virtual North Split Public Open House. Click here for a flyer. During the open house, the North Split Project Team will share similar updates as at the Community Advisory Committee meeting, including the Aesthetic Design Guidelines, which were created as a result of the Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) process.
In compliance with the Indiana State Department of Health’s social distancing requirements, there will be two virtual Public Open Houses, offered online only:

  • Tuesday, April 28 from 2 to 4 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time)
  • Thursday, April 30 from 6 to 8 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time)

Please note:

  1. Both Open Houses will contain the same presentation, and both will be conducted using the WebEx conferencing tool. During the WebEx presentation, attendees can see and hear a formal presentation from the North Split Project Team, as well ask questions.
  2. The Public Open House PowerPoint presentation and display boards will be made available northsplit.com/virtual-open-house prior to the Open Houses.
  3. A conference telephone number is provided if you are not able to see the presentation. If you participate via the conference telephone number, you will only be able to hear the audio portion of the presentation.

Questions and comments about the presentation and display boards may be submitted through northsplit.com or via info@northsplit.com from April 28 through May 15, 2020. For more information, visit northsplit.com.

Rethink Recap April 2020 

April 27, 2020, Indianapolis, IN-- RETHNINK 65/70 published this recap as long stretches of I-65/70 closed for repairs during the reduced traffic period associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.