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Super 70: What Do You Mean We Have To Tell The People What We're Doing?

Indot_12We haven't really opened up a discussion about the state's "Super 70" project, which is shaping up to be a huge headache for many Indy commuters, so here goes. The Star knocks the Indiana Department of Transportation today for -- imagine this -- failing to adequately communicate its plans to local residents and businesses affected by the project.

Adding insult to injury, the editorial board unfavorably compares this would-be clustertruck to the Hyperfix project four years ago, which was well orchestrated (by Democrats!) and carried out (by Democrats!) in a manner that minimized inconvenience and earned bipartisan praise.

"Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Karl Browning calls construction work on six miles of Interstate 70 on Indianapolis' Eastside "massively larger'' than the much-hyped Hyperfix project of four years ago.

"Yet, in light of the new project's scope, state officials were late in communicating to the public the possible ramifications of the road work, which is scheduled to start sometime this week. The prep work, especially when compared with INDOT's handling of Hyperfix in 2003, was lax.

"Take the news, for instance, that 10,000 trucks a day will be diverted from I-70 to other roads in and around Indianapolis, many likely to clog I-465 on the Southside. That's information that folks in Greenwood or Mooresville might have found useful more than a few days before the exits started closing.

"In a meeting with The Star's Editorial Board last week, Browning and other DOT officials couldn't answer questions about how many more cars and trucks will wind up on major city thoroughfares such as Washington Street. Nor could they give a solid recommendation on how much additional commuting time residents from Geist or Greenfield would need to build into their schedules.

"Part of the problem may be that Browning took over management of DOT in November, less than four months before the department was set to launch what is billed as the largest one-year road project in the state's history. The work will take place on what is normally the busiest stretch of highway in the state, carrying about 180,000 vehicles a day.

"Browning also is new to the world of road-building, having served as the Daniels administration's chief information officer before moving to INDOT. He was an executive at Golden Rule Insurance Co. prior to joining state government.

"Browning points out that the road work, scheduled for completion in mid-November, is critical given the heavy volume of traffic along the six-mile stretch and the fact that 35 years have passed since the last major reconstruction was completed. He also says that a project of this scale will create many complications no matter how well planned and executed. 'This project in its best form is ugly,'' he said.

"He's undoubtedly right about each of those points. But that also serves to underscore the importance of early and frequent communication.

"Residents and commuters on the Eastside, Northside and Southside no doubt will adjust in time to the inconveniences of the roadwork. Good upfront communication, however, could have reduced the loss of business productivity and held down the level of frustration.

"Let's hope for the best as the barriers go up and construction begins. It would have been wise, however, if the state had prepared for the worst."

Comments

Yet another example of the risk that one runs when one's consistent message is "the people who came before me were idiots." The Daniels administration, it is true, provides SO MANY of these examples that it's tempting to think that this is a trait unique to them. Sadly, it's not.

People are more likely to forgive mistakes than they are to suffer unjustified hubris.

Is Browning the same bright guy who is heading up the "Accelerate I-465" program as well?
They're getting ready to destroy the intersections of I-465 at 38th Street, Crawfordville Road and West 10th Street, all during the second quarter of this year.
But there has been very, very little communicated with the residents on the westside who are going to be greatly affected by this project.
Most don't realize that the construction will continue on 24 HOURS A DAY and that INDOT will not be erecting ANY BARRIER WALLS between the interstate and the residents until AFTER the project is completely finished, despite having told residents last year that the barriers would be erected BEFORE the construction began, to cut the noise, dust and light pollution. They already backed down on that promise, and Rep. Hinkle has done nothing to hold them to that promise.
I won't quarrel that the westside does need these additional lanes on I-465; I'm just curious why INDOT has not explained any of this to the residents; also, I am not confident that they can indeed handle two major projects of this scope at the same time.

Oh geez...here we go again. The leftists are foaming at the mouth once again trying to convince everyone that liberal Democrats are God's gift to this country, and demonize everyone else--moderates and conservatives.

Gosh, Anon 3:33, I didn't read it that way. I thought the point was that people in glass houses should stop throwing stones.

Here we call it a cluster f--k!!

Maybe the surprise delivery of an additional 10,000 trucks to the south leg of I-465 wasn't an accident.

Maybe it was meant to quiet all ussins who been fussin' 'bout that new fangled road they want to give us. Commerce connector indeed!

Won't work...we'll just use that as a reason not to give approval before the facts are conjured up. If they can't figure out how to fix what's there whilst we can keep an eye on 'em...

Emergency agencies are advising their units to avoid all travel on Indianapolis' interstate system unless you are dispatched onto one of them.

Anyone think this isn't going to be complete hell?

Community East had a very good complaint-that no one listened to. With its interstate access gone and traffic on surface streets jammed, people will be going elsewhere, by both car and ambulance.

"Gosh, Anon 3:33, I didn't read it that way. I thought the point was that people in glass houses should stop throwing stones."

Liberals should definitely heed that word of advice, heh. Great post 3:33.

Facts have a liberal bias ...

Having to take that highway 5 days a week, I'll have a longer commute time added to my daily schedule. It's already dangerous enough having to navigate that sorry assed highway. With speed above 75 being slow, it will only get worse.
look out everyone, this will be a nightmare.

Super 70. Super Screwed is what it is. Why couldn't the new crew do better than Hyperfix? Because they have done nothing for two years.

The new crew finally ran out of projects put together by O'Bannon and Kernan and now they have to do it themselves. Guess they are finding that governing is a bit tougher than campaigning.

Speaking of that ditch Daniels was so fond of bringing up in the '04 campaign - looks like Super 70, and anyone near it, is going that way. That's called justice!!

C'mon. Reality check. Bayh-O'Bannon-Special K didn't raise tolls on the Indiana Toll Road, and left a long list of unfinished work along that road alone. Daniels also faced a $2 billion uphill road to climb. Now we have $700 million to builld I69 and more. C'ommence the whining!

"Emergency agencies are advising their units to avoid all travel on Indianapolis' interstate system unless you are dispatched onto one of them.

Anyone think this isn't going to be complete hell?"

"Having to take that highway 5 days a week, I'll have a longer commute time added to my daily schedule. It's already dangerous enough having to navigate that sorry assed highway. With speed above 75 being slow, it will only get worse. look out everyone, this will be a nightmare."

So what should we do..wait till the entire road turns back to gravel? Something has to be done. It is either a three year project or a 10 month project. I take that road five days a week as well, sometimes on the weekend. Yea, it might take longer to take 21st to Mass. Ave. to downtown, but that is life. I just have to leave a little earlier. Wonder if our grandparents bitched this much when they did not even have interstates?

As far as the discussion, there has been plenty. Amos Brown was really getting all hot, almost to the point where I thought he was going to say that the government should bailout all those businesses along the I-70 interstate systems. The calls for government to "DO SOMETHING!" is so great anymore, I don't know why we don't just abolish state and local government and just federalize everything.

'Now we have $700 million to builld I69 and more'

maybe I am just as stupid as the mitchster2k8 thinks I am. I thought we needed the commerce connector to pay for i69?

I wonder how we all got to work before I 70 and I 65? Oh, I know, we drove on the city streets. I've seen people sit at a complete stop on I65 while there was no traffic on Senate, Illinois or Capitol. That's not to say that the public shouldn't have been better educated about the project or that there might not have been a better way to do it, but it's sure better to get it over with in 10 months than three years.

"...but it's sure better to get it over with in 10 months than three years."

No disagreement here.

I think the problem is what to do with the truck traffic. And a lot of the businesses that are along I-70 are concerned about how this will hurt their bottom lines.

"I think the problem is what to do with the truck traffic."

The only difference from hyperfix, as it relates to truck traffic, is that the I70 to I65 truck traffic will be moved to 465 around the northside. You can't do anything about it. It was fine to do when hyperfix moved I70 traffic to 465 on the southside, wasn't it?

"And a lot of the businesses that are along I-70 are concerned about how this will hurt their bottom lines."

It would have been nice to see some reaction from the Democratic Party when DPW screwed up 38th Street for 4 years. I'm sure businesses in the Lafayette Square area suffered. Not to mention when key intersections were simply closed with little-to-no prior notification.

You know, I don't remember anybody playing politics during Hyperfix.

"You know, I don't remember anybody playing politics during Hyperfix."

The Star wrote the editorial, kiddo. Not me.

I honestly don't know where the Star editorial board or the residents/businesses on the east side are coming from.

Super70 has been in the news since last fall VERY PROMINENTLY. I recall a newspaper or television story on the ramp up to Super70 at least once a week it seemed. If someone local didn't know this project was happening then they had their head stuck in the sand for months.

I use I-70 to get downtown all the time. My father takes I-70 to his job on the east side. We've been trying to figure out alternative routes for months. The best routes we can come up with are BAD, WORSE, or INCONVENIENT. However that's the way it is sometimes. For eastide businesses and commuters there is no good solution, but that happens and we need to grin and bear it sometimes.

Back in 2000 I had to get through 3 construction zones to get to work. Even with alternate routes I discovered I still had to go through at least one project. You know what happened? I adapted. Others will too.

If the project finishes in November like it is supposed to it'll be worth it. I-70 is garbage and needs to be rebuilt. No one argues that.

On the plus side, maybe this will demonstrate why we need those elevated people movers across the metro area. If you take the train to work you won't care what happens on the interstate.

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