50 Bridges in 18 Months – Huge North Split Project is Underway

50 Bridges in 18 Months – Huge North Split Project is Underway

One of the biggest infrastructure projects happening in Indiana right now is also one of the trickiest to fully describe. Picture a complex highway interchange system that’s a bit like a twisted bunch of spaghetti noodles and you’re on the right track. Indianapolis’s $320 million North Split project involves the reconstruction of one of the most heavily traveled and dangerous interchanges in the state. The project involves 50 bridges, two major interstates, and two changes to access points – with reconstruction happening in an 18-month full-closure window.

About 214,000 vehicles pass through the North Split interchange every day, ranking it the second-most traveled interchange in the state. The system brings together I-65 and I-70, and also connects to numerous local roads.

Overall project view.

Built in 1968, the interchange is seriously showing signs of age. This current project is the first time the split is being completely reconstructed, partly because it’s such a large and busy interchange. INDOT, the owner of the project, has been planning this for over two years.

According to INDOT, there are four key reasons for the reconstruction:

  • Fix the old, deteriorated bridges,
  • Fix the old pavement for a smoother ride,
  • Make the interchange safer, and
  • Improve flow and reduce congestion.

Regarding those last two points, safety and operational flow are major concerns. The North Split has a disorienting section that weaves, which is not ideal given its heavy daily use. That part of the roadway is going to be changed for safety.

According to data from INDOT, there are typically about 300 crashes per year in the North Split.

INDOT said the North Split’s crash rate was higher in all categories than crash rates experienced on other urban interstates in Indiana. Property damage crashes were about 2.3 times higher, and injury crashes were 2.8 higher. They also pointed out the infrastructure itself is a hazard, saying “conditions other than high traffic volumes contribute to the large number of crashes.”


Very Complex Project

Considering the North Split project encompasses about 185 acres that thousands of cars pass through every hour, it’s obviously quite an endeavor to plan. There’s also a tight timeline, as construction is scheduled to be complete in late autumn of 2022.

Monon Trail, part of the North Split project.

We reached out to project managers with Superior Construction, the project’s lead contractor, and INDOT to ask them about the challenges they encountered. Brian Shattuck, a project manager with INDOT’s Major Project Delivery Team, said that a heavy emphasis was placed on communication between the large number of parties involved.

“The project is massive and impacts a large number of stakeholders. Coordination has been a big challenge,” Shattuck said.

“We have a great public information team on the project. Superior Construction, HNTB, and INDOT have all been working together to ensure all of the stakeholders are informed,” he said. “This way, our construction team can get to the business of building 50 bridges is a very short timeframe. I am not aware of this many bridges being demolished and re-built in such a short time.”

Patric Tuuk, construction manager with Superior Construction, agreed and elaborated a bit on the high degree of collaboration involved with a project of this scale.

“The biggest challenge on this project is creating the project team from the ground up,” Tuuk said. “We had to recruit and train over 40 staff members from Field Engineers, Assistant Project Managers, Project Managers, etc. along with hiring talented craft personnel. We are fortunate that the Indianapolis area is well known for their talented craft and we were able to get them working on this project. Another challenge is the coordination between the subcontractors and Superior’s self-performed work. This requires us to perform extensive planning to ensure that steps are followed to allow for the work be performed safely and provide a quality end product that will meet and exceed the public’s expectations.”

Crews set the beam for the SB C-D over Saint Clair Street in April 2021.

Superior has been using several strategies to keep the project teams organized. Each day, a Daily Ops Meeting is held where each respective leader in charge of a specific sub discipline discusses the work they will be performing and at what location. This allows teams to identify and correct any potential conflicts before work begins.

Teams are also using 4D modeling, which combines 3D visualizations with scheduling to create simulations. Again, this helps identify points of conflict and keeps each team informed.

“4D modeling has been a very valuable tool that has allowed us to get ahead of potential issues and plan ahead,” Tuuk said.

Incorporating all of these steps and procedures has enabled construction to safely begin at numerous points throughout the North Split project.


A Transformative Change

Given that Indianapolis is referred to as the Crossroads of America, one could say this project is revamping part of the very heart of that nickname. Although this is a complicated and disruptive reconstruction for the city, it will certainly bring about positive benefits for our logistics network. With the interchange safer and more efficient, we’ll be able to keep Indiana business rolling forward.



Construction Partners for the $320M North Split Project
Owner’s Representative HNTB
Lead Contractor Superior Construction
Lead Designer/Engineer Janssen & Spaans Engineering, Inc. (JSE)


Concrete Cutting ABC Cutting Contractors, Inc.
Pavement Breaking Antigo Construction
Drainage Works Bunn Enterprises, Inc.
Painting Works Champion Specialty Services Corp.
Asphalt and Concrete Paving E&B Paving Inc.
Hauling Materials Eastside Trucking
Geo Testing Geotill Inc.
Utility Inspection Ground Penetrating Radar Systems, LLC
Structural Steel, Rebar, and SIP Harmon Steel, Inc.
Hydro Demo Hydro-Technologies, Inc.
Hauling Materials J. Hall Trucking, Inc. (Lynn Trucking, Inc.)
Lighting, ITS, Guardrail James H Drew Corporation
Milling Javelina Construction, Inc.
Mowing Linkel Company, LLC
Subgrade Treatment Mt. Carmel Stabilization Group
Demolition Omega III, LLC
Concrete Cutting Professional Concrete Cutting & Drilling, LLC
Concrete Pumping RL McCoy, Inc.
Traffic Maintenance Roadsafe Traffic Systems, Inc.
Landscaping Roudebush Grading, Inc.
Traffic Signs and Signal TC Electric, Inc.
Traffic Signs and Lighting The Hoosier Company, Inc.
Tree Clearing Tri-State Forestry Services, Inc.
Vibration Monitoring Vibra-Tech
Subgrade Treatment Weaver Grading, Inc.
Permanent Concrete Barrier Install Whitehead Construction, Inc.
Sources: INDOT, Superior Construction


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