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It’s pandemonium time in downtown Indianapolis this week. Expect wandering caravans of Crimson Tide fans to drift in and out of crosswalks like a herd of elephants crossing the Namid Desert. Expect Georgia fans to jaywalk through intersections with their nubby little bulldog legs. It’s a joy – all these guests and national attention. Welcome! Now let’s do our part as congenial hosts and not hit anyone.

It’s the College Football National Championship, and an overserving of street closures mixed with north split construction shenanigans could make the trip through downtown a bit tedious. In fact, I THINK Indianapolis won the 2021 national title for lanes taken because of road work, inching out Boston by the length of a sidewalk. Hang your heads high! We deserve a trophy:

That’ll do.

Venturing downtown requires a compass and a shovel. Save your money and read this primer.

East Side

  • Michigan St. – a westbound one way – is closed at the I-65/70 bridge on downtown’s east end for north split construction. They’re demolishing the bridge, and its preferred we’re not underneath when they do that. Has New York St. reopened? Hell if I know, and I’m not being flip. I really don’t know. At this very moment, it could be open, it could be closed. New York St. was supposed to reopen Monday, but we blew through the deadline and the barricades are still up. I drive by the closure four times a day, and no change thus far. For now, you cannot leave downtown from the east side, or enter downtown from the east side using the Michigan St./New York St. one ways.

Monument Circle

  • All of Monument Circle is closed to vehicular traffic through (approximately) Tuesday morning, January 11th. They’ve built a humungous stage on the north half for concerts related to the championship game, or the Playoff Playlist, and closing the Circle ensures we won’t run into such stage and ruin the awesome musical acts incorporated into the championship game festivities. 

Extra Yard 5K

  • Sunday morning, several streets will close on the south end of downtown for the Extra Yard 5K, and will remain closed into the afternoon.

Extra Mile 5K

Mile Square

  • Washington St. will close from Pennsylvania St. to Illinois St. this Saturday and Sunday from 3pm to 11pm both days, and Monday from 10am – 5pm. Ohio St. and Maryland St. are straight-shots over to Illinois, if that’s what you need to do. Stay off of Georgia St. They’re partying and likely really naked over there.
  • Construction continues on Pennsylvania St. – a southbound one way – in front of Gainbridge Fieldhouse, where the left two lanes are blocked between Maryland and South St.
  • The intersection of Illinois St. and Washington St. is no longer a mosh pit since the northbound lane restrictions have been lifted. However, westbound W. Market St. from Monument Circle to Illinois is still closed. The westbound lane closure is irrelevant – at least for championship week – since the north half of the circle is closed for the party. You can expect W. Market St. to be restricted from the Circle to Illinois through August while crews make the area more user friendly. 


  • Lanes on the 11th St. on-ramp to southbound I-65/eastbound I-70 could be restricted when you approach. It’s north split construction again, and it’s reducing the the stretch of 11th St. from Meridian St. to Delaware St. to the center lane only from 6am to 5pm, Mondays through Thursdays until January 25th.  
  • The Michigan St. ramp is still the only way into downtown from westbound I-70. You hug the left two lanes of I-70, make that dopey curve south, then off you go into Lockerbie. Ohio St. ramp? Still closed? Fletcher St. ramp? Not until November. And listen when I say Michigan around College Ave. is completely lawless sometimes, as in three lanes full of lab mice fighting for the only piece of opium-filled cheese. Put a stopped delivery truck in the left lane and let the waiting commence. 

Coming Soon

North Split construction continues through November and we’ll be absorbing the residual until then. As a heads up, the ramp from Delaware St. to southbound I-65/eastbound I-70 will close for sixty days beginning Tuesday. That’ll leave West St. and Pine St. as a pair of options to bail out of downtown.

*Special note* Many of the “finished” roadwork has left the streets uneven in spots, especially in some of the intersections. This is important if you drive a car that’s low to the ground. Careful. “Bottoming out” means so much more than sleeping on your uncle’s couch in his garage.

If you need a personalized route into downtown, hit me up at @WIBCTraffic. I’ll even show you the spots where I left my transmission. 

New Year’s Eve/Indianapolis 500 rules apply to those coming downtown this week for the jamboree. Leave early, have patience, have several ways home, update your ride sharing apps, and add a cab company to your contacts. Most importantly, get a dog. They make great house plants. 

Be well.


Matt Bair is the new voice of Indianapolis traffic and can be followed on Twitter @WIBCTraffic. Fans of Facebook can “like” WIBC Traffic for the latest traffic happenings. Tips? Call direct at (317) 684-8134 or the 93 WIBC Newsroom at (317) 637-6397.