Congested I-65 Exit Near Indianapolis Draws Concerns

Wed August 27, 2014 - Midwest Edition

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. (AP) Leaders of two northern Indianapolis suburbs have asked state officials to look at changes for an Interstate 65 interchange where they say congestion is causing safety concerns.

Commuter traffic from Indianapolis often backs up at the I-65 exit for Indiana 334 into the growing suburbs of Zionsville and Whitestown.

“I’ve had trucks just barely miss me,’’ said Larry Gibson, a Zionsville resident. “You’ve got trucks running 65 miles an hour right next to you. It’s kind of scary.’’

Officials from the two towns sent a formal request to the Indiana Department of Transportation last month seeking a review of the interchange. The highway agency’s five-year construction plan doesn’t include any work at the site, The Indianapolis Star reported.

“Our understanding right now is that it isn’t very high on the priorities list,’’ Zionsville Town Council President Jeff Papa said. “So we think it’s a dangerous situation they might not be aware of fully.’’

Drivers have been involved in 35 crashes, including nine with injuries, at the intersection since 2011, according to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

Whitestown Town Manager Dax Norton said the opening of another large retail outlet in the area just northwest of Indianapolis could overwhelm traffic on the interchange and nearby roads.

Highway department spokeswoman Debbie Calder said it has completed several projects to ease congestion in the area, including an additional travel lane that was finished last year.

“We are more than willing to meet with both Whitestown and Zionsville officials to hear their ideas and suggestions on the infrastructure improvements at that interchange,’’ she said.

Whitestown police Chief Dennis Anderson said a proposed exit to Zionsville off I-865 that was rejected by the Zionsville Town Council in 2012 could have helped ease congestion.

Residents in the area lobbied against that proposal and support among council members disintegrated, Papa said.