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INDIANAPOLIS — Red Line buses will periodically use regular traffic lanes on College Avenue as crews remove and replace bus lane medians deemed “unstable” and “ineffective” by IndyGo.

Construction will occur in phases over 4 to 6 weeks beginning the week of Nov. 19.

The rubber, mountable curbs dividing north and southbound bus lanes “lifted” following improper vendor installation and damage caused by drivers, and will be replaced with concrete dividers, IndyGo representative Lesley Gordon said.

Medians will only be replaced along College Avenue, she added. 

Similar installation techniques along other portions of the Red Line route likely posed no issues due to differences in underground infrastructure, according to Gordon and workers involved in the project.

News 8 crews observed at least four people driving over bus lane medians Tuesday afternoon; one was caught on camera while making a U-turn on College Avenue.

It happens “every day,” Broad Ripple residents said. 

Skyler Tackett, a Red Line regular who takes the bus at least twice a week to go grocery shopping and donate plasma, advised IndyGo to increase communication with passengers and drivers.

“The confusion and chaos we’ve seen so far with the Red Line is only bound to be worse during this [median construction],” Tackett told News 8. “Having such a large bus run on the regular route could be confusing and dangerous… and I could see a lot of negative things happening with that.”

Other IndyGo buses have traveled for years along multi-use traffic lanes, rather than dedicated bus lanes, Gordon pointed out.

“IndyGo is committed to providing reliable and frequent transportation for our current and future riders while holding our vendors accountable during the process,” IndyGo CEO Inez Evans said in a press release issued Tuesday. “The Red Line is the first of this caliber of service for the agency… we are continuing to learn and update in order to provide the best service to our community.”

Despite the agency’s calls for vendor accountability and claims of improper vendor installation, IndyGo could be responsible for a portion of median replacement costs.

“Cost-sharing negotiations” with the median vendor were ongoing, Gordon said Tuesday.

The vehicle vendor, however, will cover the cost of installing and maintaining charging stations for the electric Red Line buses to “ensure enhanced winter performance,” according to IndyGo.

Due to colder temperatures, bus batteries require additional charging boosts while in service to complete scheduled runs.

The issue was identified during initial testing in 2018, IndyGo representatives confirmed. 

Permanent inductive technology is scheduled to be installed at the ends of the Red Line route by early 2020; temporary chargers will be installed before then at undetermined locations along the route.

“We do ask that there’s a little bit of patience as we make those improvements,” Gordon said.

(Photo by Julia Deng/WISH)