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Drivers still adjusting to North Split closure one week into 18-month project

Some truck drivers still learning detours
north split closure
Posted at 6:46 PM, May 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-24 18:46:33-04

INDIANAPOLIS — We are more than a week into the Interstate 65 North Split 18-month closure and drivers are still adjusting.

You may be noticing more traffic and trucks on city streets downtown and that could be leading to an increase in crashes.

Truck drivers from near and far are making adjustments to their routes due to the North Split closure.

“I decided to go 30 miles outside the route and save time,” Carroll Powell, a truck driver, said.

Powell said he knew to avoid the area because a friend called to warn him.

“He actually came through there on Friday,” Powell said. “He had to detour through some city streets and everything which is kind of hard for truck drivers.”

Powell is avoiding the area and using the Interstate 465 detour recommended by INDOT, but not all truck drivers have made that adjustment. There are still trucks exiting the interstate and driving through local streets trying to find their way back on it.

This extra traffic could be leading to an increase in crashes as well.

From May 10 to 16, the week before the North Split closure, there were about 47 crashes reported downtown, according to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. From May 17 to 23, the first week of the closure, there were about 71.

It is unclear if the North Split shutdown added to the increase in crashes or not, but some say the added traffic on city streets could be partially to blame.

At this point, IMPD has not been ticketing truck drivers for cutting through downtown city streets rather than using the I-465 detour recommended by INDOT. Police said they are maintaining regular patrols in the area though and will deal with any issues that come up on a case-by-case basis.