INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Officials say they didn't see problems
any worse than anticipated Tuesday morning when commuters for the first
time dealt with the closure of a key section of interstates 65 and 70 that
feed downtown Indianapolis, but the afternoon rush hour could be another
The Indiana Department of Transportation and Indianapolis media outlets
have spent weeks warning motorists that their way to and from work will be
complicated by work to lower pavement along the heavily traveled route to
keep trucks from ripping their roofs and cargo under bridges that are
posted for use by lower trucks. Most motorists were braced for changes
with alternate routes planned, Indiana State Police spokesman Sgt. Richard
"I think everybody got the word out and everybody did what they did and
everything went smoothly," he said.
Indianapolis police spokeswoman Sgt. Linda Jackson said she drives to work
from the south side where she lives every morning, and simply bypassed the
closed exit ramp where she normally gets off and went on to the next one.
But traffic wasn't flowing so smoothly in outlying areas as the day wore
on, and highway officials said backups could be worse for the afternoon
Will Wingfield, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation,
said highway officials were tracking the new traffic flow patterns caused
by commuters' adjustments and had crews and police working traffic signals
to try to make things run smoothly.
"There's a lot of traffic unloading onto city streets," from exits they
don't ordinarily use, he said.
But conditions worsened as the morning rush intensified, Wingfield said.
"By 8 a,m., we were definitely seeing more traffic backups," he said.
The worst of the Tuesday morning backups were not downtown, but on the
south side were I-465 merges with 65 and a major city street named Emerson
Ave., where motorists have to quickly cross three lanes of traffic to get
off at the next exit.
"That's a normal hot spot for us," Wingfield said, but "it could be
complicated even further" when commuters rush to get home later Tuesday.
Westbound drivers also seemed to be overlooking a ramp where they can get
off onto three major city streets, he said.
Officials say the highway work is needed because bridges in that section
have been hit repeatedly by oversized semitrailer loads. The $12 million
project scheduled for completion by the end of October.