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North Split highway reopens 5 months late and $100 million over budget

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Posted at 4:25 PM, May 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-12 16:34:22-04

INDIANAPOLIS — It took five extra months and cost about $100 million more than expected, but city officials on Friday celebrated the long-awaited opening of the North Split highway interchange.

Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Mike Smith said pandemic-related shutdowns and a nation-wide shortage of construction materials caused the delay and higher price tag.

"There's still more work to do, so I can't speak to what the final price tag will be," Smith said. "Commodities prices are up 43% across the board. There are real challenges and headwinds that we've had to deal with across our program, not just with this project.”

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INDOT Commissioner Mike Smith

The North Split is the three-mile stretch of Downtown Indianapolis highway that connects I-70 and I-65. It is the second-most heavily traveled interchange in the state.

The old highway interchange was more than 50-years old and crumbling. The new and improved design eliminates a hazardous curve and make the highway much safer for motorists, INDOT said.

The North Split closed in 2021 and construction had been scheduled to be finished by the end of 2022. The initial cost was estimated at $240 million; but Smith said the final bill will likely reach about $340 or $350 million.

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INDOT worker in high-visibility vest

"You don't do a $320-, $340-million project by accident," Smith said. "It takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears, and I hope no matter what, whether we hit a deadline or not, the public understands that there was a lot of hard work by a lot of people."

More: INDOT aims to open North Split to traffic by end of 2022, spokesperson says | INDOT plans to reopen Interstate 65 through North Split this weekend | 'They don't fit'; City streets damaged by detouring North Split construction traffic

Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at or on Twitter: @vicryc.