INDIANAPOLIS — A WRTV investigation is getting results.
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) directed a contractor to fix a crumbling and damaged ADA wheelchair ramp at the intersection of Washington and Rural streets.
WRTV’s Investigation “Detour Damage” showed how the North Split construction project is taking its toll— detouring cars and trucks are causing damage to city streets, light poles and crosswalks.
David Price has lived in the Englewood neighborhood for 30 years and is also concerned about the damage, including the wheelchair ramp that was missing chunks of concrete.
“Now it's totally inaccessible to any of our neighbors needing it,” said Price. “You have about a six-inch drop, so there's no way anyone with a wheelchair could get through that intersection. They'd have to go out in traffic putting themselves in harm’s way."
Scott Manning, Deputy Chief of Staff at INDOT, told WRTV Investigates they took action following our story.
“We wanted to address this ramp right away to make sure anyone using a wheelchair in the neighborhood is safely able to cross the street at that intersection,” said Manning.
They are still working with the Indianapolis Department of Public Works to finalize a list of streets needing repairs.
WRTV Investigates has learned the City of Indianapolis is conducting an analysis of the damage and gathering a cost estimate—which will then be shared with INDOT, who will be on the hook for at least part of the repair costs.
The North Split project is a multi-million dollar plan that started in May 2021 and closed Interstate 65 between the north and south splits. INDOT's goal is to get rid of factors that cause crashes and congestion.
Supply chain and workforce shortages have delayed the end of the North Split construction until April 2023.
The official detour for the North Split is I-465.
However, some cars and trucks instead opt to use city streets instead—and the extra traffic is causing damage to city streets and city property.
DPW spokesperson Ben Easley said they do not have a cost estimate, but they’re conducting an analysis to come up with a dollar figure.
“That’s what we are assessing,” said Easley. “We are looking at College Avenue, New York Street, Michigan Street and all the other little ones that have been impacted by detouring traffic.
Easley said DPW will be concentrating on wear and tear to pavement.
"It's a little hard to decipher which damage or wear and tear might have happened to detouring interstate traffic versus just regular local traffic that also wears and tears on our streets,” said Easley. “That's the process we are in right now."
WRTV Investigates asked whether the city will get any money to help cover the cost of the repairs.
“Yes, DPW and INDOT worked together before the beginning of the project with the understanding that there would be impacts to local roadways,” said Easley. “There was an expectation they would put together funds to repair some of those locations afterward."
It’s not yet clear how much the city could receive in state money to help repair city streets.
“It's fair to say we are doing our best to coordinate with INDOT specifically in areas where pavement has been deteriorated as part of the north split project to make that whole,” said Easley. “We are doing our best effort."
Repairs to city streets will not begin until the North Split construction is complete, which isn’t expected until April 2023.
WRTV Investigates contacted INDOT regarding damage to city streets.
“INDOT is working closely with Indy DPW to identify areas where repairs may be needed on local streets following North Split construction,” said INDOT Strategic Communications Director Natalie Garrett in an email to WRTV. “The two agencies are coordinating efforts to finalize the scope, cost and timeline for these activities.”
It’s not illegal for cars and trucks to use city streets as a detour.
“Regarding semis downtown, as long as they are not carrying flammable or dangerous materials, there is nothing that prohibits them from driving downtown,” IMPD said in a statement to WRTV. “We have not taken enforcement action because this has not been the case thus far.”
INDOT has installed detour signs along I-74, I-69, I-465, I-65 and I-70.