INDIANAPOLIS — After a local business became the unintentional detour route, INDOT is now making some changes in order to help drivers navigate better.
Michigan Street is now closed from Pine to Davidson Street. The closure is part of the North Split project. The current detour uses Rural Street, Washington Street and College Avenue. However, following some confusion for drivers that led to an unintentional detour route through a business parking lot, the Indianapolis Department of Public Works is adding an alternate route.
Details on that route are expected later this week.
As drivers cruised down Michigan Street in downtown Indianapolis, many had to slam on their breaks as the "Road Closed" sign came into view at the intersection of Michigan and Pine Streets.
Several drivers who pulled up to the intersection, realized that their only option was to get onto I-70. As a way to avoid getting on the highway, drivers have been forced to reverse back down Michigan Street, with many of them pulling into the only other option they could see: The Midland Arts & Antiques Market parking lot.
“There’s no signage earlier up the road that tells people that the road is closed ahead,”Store Manager Linda Patton, said. “So when you get to the intersection as a driver your choice is to go I-70 or go through our parking lot.”
When Mike McCoy was on his way to the hospital, he encountered the closure. McCoy backed up down Michigan Street and turned into the parking lot. "I have no idea what's going on there," McCoy said. "I backed up because I didn't want to turn. I didn't want to get on the interstate."
Stephanie Iacobucci stopped by the Midland Arts & Antiques Market to shop. She and her friend sat in the parking lot for a few minutes before walking outside, and instantly noticed the line of vehicles using the lot as a detour.
"Oh, I would say at least 15 to 20 in the time we were sitting in the car for five to 10 minutes," she said.
Midland Arts & Antiques Market has been at the corner of Pine and Michigan for 30 years. Patton said they have a solid customer base and were happy to survive the pandemic.
But now, she's concerned about how this traffic could impact business.
"We've done very well here, lots of people come and visit us, we're wonderful!" Patton exclaimed. "But I don't want that experience sullied by being afraid to get out of your car."
She and other staff members are also worried about the drivers. So, they created a makeshift speed bump that's meant to encourage drivers to slow down while passing through.
Patton also reached out to the Mayor's Action Center and INDOT to explain the problem. In the meantime, she plans to purchase a more permanent speed bump to help control drivers.
"My concern is that someone is going to get hurt in the parking lot, that a car is going to have a wreck," she said.
WRTV reached out to INDOT and a spokesperson said that issue is being resolved.
"They are putting barricades to try to discourage drivers from going through. There is going to be another "Road Close to Thru Traffic" sign," Mallory Duncan, INDOT Communications Director said.
Barricades were put up early afternoon on Tuesday, and Duncan said the additional signage and an alternate route are expected to be posted in the next few days.
Duncan said she hopes this situation encourages drivers and business owners to contact INDOT if they have issues.
"We will try to find a solution if you contact us," Duncan said.