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The Indy Chamber released a statement today after Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) officials unveiled a new design for the I-65/I-70 ‘North Split’ project in downtown Indianapolis.  The Chamber has been involved in talks among INDOT, local elected officials, neighborhood activists and community leaders on the scope of the project, urging the state to be mindful of issues like neighborhood connectivity, land use and economic development impact.

Indy Chamber Chief Policy Officer Mark Fisher made the following statement after an initial review of the revised approach:

“We’re enthusiastic about the evolution of the North Split project to the current proposal from INDOT – a design that addresses safety issues and growing traffic volume through the 65/70 interchange, but arrives at a solution that’s positive for neighborhoods, land use and redevelopment, and the vitality of urban Indianapolis.

“We’d like to thank Governor Holcomb, Commissioner McGuinness, and the INDOT team for listening and working with city and civic leaders, and Mayor Hogsett for his leadership.  This is also a testament to the power of community engagement…the citizens, organizations and employers who became powerful advocates on this issue also deserve our gratitude.

“Specifically, we’re pleased that the new plan actually reduces the physical footprint of the interchange, avoids walls and other engineering elements that would unnecessarily divide neighborhoods, and actually envisions a transfer of land to the city for green space.

“We’ve seen promising redevelopment along East 10th Street and other Near East Side neighborhoods, and the reconstruction of the North Split can now be seen as a catalyst, not an impediment, to this progress.  The ability to enhance walkability – preserving more land around the Monon and Cultural Trails – is also a benefit to quality of life, the appeal of these areas to new residents, and opportunities for new development.

“Looking further ahead, we hope this process becomes a model for collaboration and ‘big picture’ thinking around major infrastructure projects.  We will continue to move forward with an economic impact study around the future of the entire ‘inner loop,’ with renewed confidence that this analysis can inform and influence a forward-thinking vision for our downtown interstate system.”

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