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Accelerate I-465

Project Abstract

For reasons of increasing capacity and improving safety, the I-465 project, titled “Accelerate 465,” consists of freeway reconstruction, upgrades of interchange ramps and mainline capabilities, improved geometrics and access upgrades to major destinations along the corridor, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis International Airport, Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis Raceway Park and downtown.



Design Alternative - Cultural Heritage:

-- Excerpt from Accelerate I-465 Submission Form --

Overview


I-465 is a 53-mile beltway surrounding the city of Indianapolis, and is one of the most heavily traveled highway corridors in the Midwest. I-465 serves local, regional and national traffic needs for the greater Indianapolis area and the Indianapolis International Airport. Within this larger system, a 12-mile segment of I-465 along the west side of the city is currently planned for reconstruction by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT). For reasons of increasing capacity and improving safety, the I-465 project, titled “Accelerate 465,” consists of freeway reconstruction, upgrades of interchange ramps and mainline capabilities, improved geometrics and access upgrades to major destinations along the corridor, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis International Airport, Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis Raceway Park and downtown.

Role of the Landscape Architect
An important concept in roadway design is that every project is unique. The setting and character of the area, values of the community, needs of the highway users and the challenges and opportunities of a site are unique factors that must be considered with each project. Each project must be developed to balance the need for safety and efficiency in the design with the need to integrate it into the surrounding natural and human environments. To accomplish this, INDOT promotes a Context Sensitive Solution (CSS) approach to the design of transportation projects that broadly considers the social, economic and environmental issues of each individual project. As such, landscape architects led the development of a Design Guideline Manual for the Context Sensitive Solutions for the Accelerate 465 project. The team of landscape architects were responsible for:

  • Development of a theme and identity for the project
  • Site inventory & analysis
  • Coordination and facilitation of the Community Advisory Group (CAG)
  • Conceptual design that illustrates how all structural components should be addressed
  • Development of typical cross sections and material selection for context sensitive design concepts
  • Creation of the design guidelines manual summarizing all CSS design elements
  • Coordination with structural, highway, and environmental engineers
  • Development of presentation materials and graphic
  • Coordination with the Indiana Department of Transportation and other bodies for approval of concepts.

 

The CSS team followed a design process that recognized a system of exploration and testing. Exploration included analysis of existing conditions, natural and man-influenced factors and identification of expressed community patterns. Through this process, three distinct but interrelated concepts emerged – “Natural,” “Cultural,” and “Progressive” Heritage. The synthesis of these concepts, “Crossroads Heritage,” is a design theme inspired by Indianapolis’ rich natural, cultural and progressive heritage. As the concepts were developed, elements that were inspired by patterns, features and landmarks representative of the Indianapolis region were utilized as design inspiration. Examples of these elements include the use of a circle in various design elements to honor Monument Circle which is at the center of the city and the use of patterns reflective of native Indiana limestone. As the landscape architects developed various concepts for pedestrian and bicycle accommodations, bridge treatments, soundwall treatments and other design amenities, they were presented to a Community Advisory Group (CAG) that was comprised of stakeholders representing businesses, neighborhoods, various government agencies and municipalities. In addition, the landscape architects coordinated an area-wide Public Information Fair that featured “booths” for specific project disciplines. This Information Fair was attended by nearly 500 interested residents, and was very successful in communicating the project objectives to the public as well as generating great enthusiasm for the project’s CSS components.

Project Solutions
The product of the CSS design process is the final Accelerate I-465 Design Guidelines, a manual providing visual design direction for roadway components reconstructed in this project. Developed in concert with the public involvement process, the Guidelines explore and document opportunities for corridor-wide aesthetic and architectural enhancements. They clarify the relationship between roadway engineering and aesthetic design, and demonstrate how attention to aesthetic solutions, together with functional and economic considerations, can satisfy the broader requirements of promoting visual quality and strengthening community identity.

Informed by feedback from the stakeholders and INDOT, the landscape architects developed detail design treatments for all corridor components as documented within the Guidelines, including:

  • Bridges
  • Retaining Walls
  • Noise Barriers
  • Traffic Barriers
  • Lighting
  • Signs
  • Grading
  • Fencing
  • Landscaping
  • Public Art Opportunities

 

These design concepts will provide corridor-wide, comprehensive design direction as the project advances to final design and construction.

Project Significance
The value added by the team of landscape architects in developing design solutions cannot be underestimated in this project. The ability to build consensus and enthusiasm on a multi-million dollar project that impacts thousands of resident’s and visitors to the Indianapolis community is an outstanding achievement for the process outlined and delivered by the CSS team. The end result is a project that is community driven and technically sound, and will provide a unique character and design vocabulary for this new gateway to the City of Indianapolis.


Further Reading:
PDF Icon    Accelerate I-465

PDF Icon    I465 Acceleration Submission Form


    
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