By Mark Ambrogi
By the end of the year, traffic flow at the I-465 and U.S. 421/Michigan Road Interchange should be improved.
But first expect more congestion.
The Indiana Dept. of Transportation recently awarded a $1.4 million contract to Milestone Contractors to add lanes at the Indianapolis intersection. The project is expected to start this spring at a yet-to-be-determined date and be complete by November.
The three objectives will be lengthening the existing northbound Michigan Road right-turn lane to eastbound I-465, adding a second left-turn lane on southbound U.S. 421 to eastbound I-465 and adding a third left-turn lane on the eastbound I-465 exit ramp to northbound U.S. 421.
The interchange ramps will remain open during the project. Some lanes at the interchange will be temporarily narrowed and shifted to maintain traffic and provide space for construction.
Nathan Riggs, INDOT media relations director for East Central Indiana, said the purpose is to improve traffic flow in the most cost-effective way.
“For instance, we’re adding a left turn on the eastbound exit ramp to northbound (U.S. 421) just so we can get more traffic through each signal cycle so we don’t have as much of a backup onto that exit ramp and onto the interstate,” Riggs said. “If we can get more cars through before that light turns green, we can try to minimize those backups. We’re increasing capacity and increasing flow, basically.”
Riggs said the first step will be for officials to sit down with Milestone Contractors in a pre-construction conference so they can determine a start date.
“Most of what we’re doing at the interchange is widening the existing road and paving,” Riggs said. “One of the first construction activities would be to construct a temporary pavement so we can facilitate that shifting of traffic. So typically we want warm enough temperatures that the asphalt plants would be up and running.”
Because it’s February, Riggs said there is time before that would typically happen.
“The forecasts say we are going to have warm weather early, so who’s to say,” Riggs said.
Riggs said some drivers might want to pursue alternate routes, especially during peak morning and afternoon rush hours.
Drivers can learn about highway work zones and other traffic alerts at indot.carsprogram.org