Construction and closures start on 38th Street for Purple Line

The $188 million project will take about two years to complete and stretch from North…

The $188 million project will take about two years to complete and stretch from North Meridian Street east along 38th Street to Post Road and north into Lawrence.

INDIANAPOLIS — On Feb. 25, 2022, IndyGo is breaking ground on the next phase of its rapid transit plan called the Purple Line. 

The $188 million project will take about two years to complete (finishing in 2024) and stretch from North Meridian Street, east along 38th Street to Post Road, and then, up into Lawrence, ending at Fort Benjamin Harrison and Ivy Tech. It will also connect into the current Red Line, taking passengers down Meridian Street and into the heart of downtown Indianapolis.

When completed, more then 58,000 people will be within walking distance of the line (defined by IndyGo as 1/4- to 1/2-mile) and be within a similar distance of nearly 135,000 jobs. People living within that proximity of the line are 61.6% minority and 30% low-income. 

The Purple Line will use 60-foot articulated, fully-electric buses.

Instead of bike racks on the front of the bus, Purple Line buses have onboard bicycle storage, meaning those with a bicycle should board at the door nearest the bike storage area.  

What the Purple Line includes

By the numbers, the Purple Line includes:

  • 15.2 miles
  • 30 stations
  • 90% will have dedicated bus lanes
  • More than 25% reduction in transit travel times
  • Infrastructure: $127M
  • Stations: $36M
  • Vehicles: $18M
  • ROW & Finance Costs: $7M
  • FTA Small Starts Grant: $81M
  • Additional federal grants: $33.9M
  • DPW funds: $1.2M
  • IndyGo Income Tax/Bonds: $69.3M

Stations

The Purple Line will encompass 30 stations along the entirety of its route (combined with Red Line), but the new section will mean building 18 more stations.

Those stations will include features such as ticket vending machines, level boarding, real-time arrival signs, security cameras and be ADA accessible. They will even have snow melt when conditions get frosty. 

  • Monday – Friday
    5 a.m. – 1 a.m. every 10-15 minutes
  • Saturday
    6 a.m. – 1 a.m. every 10-15 minutes
  • Sunday
    7 a.m. – 10 p.m. every 10-15 minutes

Infrastructure improvements

The Purple Line’s budget of $188 million breakdown with $127 million going to infrastructure.

  • 25 new or upgraded traffic signals
  • 3 miles of multi-use path
  • Add or repair 9.5 miles of sidewalk
  • 392 new curb ramps
  • 51,700 feet of storm sewer
  • 26.5 lane miles of road resurfacing

Here is an example of what the changes will look like near Kingdom Apostolic Ministries:

While roadways are being resurfaced and sidewalks constructed, storm drain tunnels will be added to remove approximately 40 acres of storm water from the combined sewer system. This will also help with pooling issues on the roadways during heavy rainfall.

With 90% of the Purple Line having dedicated bus lanes, drivers along East 38th Street will notice a loss of a lane to either a bus-only center lane(s) or bus lanes that can be shared when a driver needs to make a left turn.

Construction plan

The Purple Line will be constructed in six segments:

  • 38th Street – College Avenue to Fall Creek Parkway
  • 38th Street – Fall Creek Parkway to Keystone Avenue
  • 38th Street – Keystone Avenue to Emerson Avenue
  • 38th Street – Emerson Avenue to Shadeland Avenue
  • 38th Street – Shadeland Avenue to Post Road
  • Post Road and Lawrence

The College Avenue to Fall Creek Parkway construction begins Feb. 25 and will involve closing the outside lane of eastbound 38th Street from just east of the Monon Trail to just east of Coliseum Avenue for roadway widening. Coliseum Avenue will also be closed south of 38th Street to Fairfield Avenue. The outside lane of westbound 38th Street will be closed from just west of Fall Creek Parkway to Woodland Avenue. 

The Fall Creek Parkway to Keystone Avenue construction also begins Feb. 25, 2022, with Citizens Energy Group closing eastbound 38th Street to complete watermain work in the Keystone intersection. During this time, eastbound 38th Street will be closed, and traffic will be detoured. 

Southbound left turn traffic from Keystone to eastbound 38th Street will be restricted. One lane of northbound Keystone Avenue will be restricted and also the northbound right turn movement. That work is scheduled to end on March 4. 

Beginning on or after March 2, Fall Creek Parkway to Orchard Avenue will be closed for 10 days. Local access to Sutherland Avenue from Fall Creek Parkway will remain open. 

  • The entire 38th Street and Keystone Avenue intersection will be closed for 10 days beginning on or after March 7 for storm sewer work. 

Additional dates for construction on the other sections of the Purple Line have not been set as weather and construction progress will impact start times.

How to stay up to date

With a two-year timeframe, there will be many changes and developments along the way with the construction of the Purple Line. IndyGo said the best way for people to be kept aware of weekly changes and progress is to click here and sign up for updates.