Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I-70 Closes Thursday for Greenway Project

I’m all for beautification, but this is ridiculous.

Someone somewhere thought it would be a great idea to close Interstate 70 on the Westside of Indianapolis so that Keep Indianapolis Beautiful and 8,500 volunteers from Eli Lilly could beautify the corridor from 6:00 a.m. on Thursday through 6:00 p.m. that evening.

I salute Eli Lilly and KIB for making this commitment to beautification of this corridor which is, after all, a gateway into downtown from the airport, but I must say that the closure of this major artery on a Thursday for the majority of the morning and evening rush hours makes little sense.

Commerce moves along I-70 all day long as well as commuters and other folks just needing to get to town. With the 12-hour closure of the entire interstate in both directions from downtown to 465, people will be forced to detour. This will throw them on to the already congested and construction choked I-465 on the Southside and Westside.

The reason this couldn't wait until a Saturday? Well, Eli Lilly tells the Indianapolis Star that the only way it could get 8,500 people to volunteer was to do it during a work day. Again, a great idea, but it seems like someone at the state level should have said thanks, but no thanks. It is hard to turn down a donation of this size, but, at what point does the amount of manpower it will take to close the interstate as well as the amount of cost to commuters in gas and time weigh out?

Looks like the big pockets of Lilly won this one, and it will be a gorgeous greenway when they are done. I just question as to why it has to be done on a Thursday, and why I'm looking for an alternate route to work.


guy77money said...

Hey we have to let all those people cruising in from the airport to see trees and flowers so they can ignore the interurban blight! The Super Bowl is right around the corner and if we get a good doze of global warming (of course that is the players are done striking by then) maybe we will see a few blooms in Feb. for the game. Oh yeah pray for rain because all those plants, trees and shrubbery will need water as our drought continues. Oh wait maybe we can get the Knights that say Ni to water them! ;) OK enough jokes hope it ends up working out and thank god I live down near Wanamaker and good luck in the traffic you lucky west siders!

Paul K. Ogden said...

I hae to wonder if anyone checked with the feds on this. They have very tight restrictions on what can be planted in an interestate right of way. I'm not sure they would permit the planting of trees.

For example, I'm working on an eminent domain project now involving the widening of a state road in Greenwood. The state has knocked down the residents' trees that were acting as a buffer along the road. The State can't put them back up because federal regulations prohibit the trees in the right of way. It's a safety thing, apparently. They don't want people running off the road and plowing into trees. I'm not sure why they wouldn't have the same prohibition on trees in an interstate right of way.

varangianguard said...


Perhaps, but I have driven by there several times recently and it really looks like the major work left to be done Thursday is spreading mulch and picking up trash.

The have graded some of the hills along the raised roadway, maybe planted some trees, and it doesn't seem to to extend very far west of West Street.

So, what sbout the rest of the corridor out to I-465? Can't say.

More hype than not, I'm thinking.

Anonymous said...

We better get everything we can out of Lilly. They will soon be bought out by a major drug company and moved elsewhere. In a few years, there will be no Lilly presence in Indy.

Anonymous said...

I have to wonder if the Federal gov't would allow a major highway closure for this purpose? Does INDOT have the finalsay? A Saturday or Sunday would make more sense, or simply don't do it at all. And who is going to maintain the garden once it is planted? Will the highway need to be closed for occasional maintenance?

Andrew "Boxy" Troemner said...

If it is so hard to get that many volunteers out on a Saturday, I wonder how many people the city could have hired to do this work? I mean, with so many people out of work, city beautification doesn't sound like that bad of a deal, just to get bills paid and to reboot the consumer economy.