By David Lindeman
I don’t know what to tell you about Indianapolis.
When I was growing up I don’t remember ever going to Indianapolis. All my relatives were in Cincinnati, so we usually headed in that direction. Sometimes in the summer we would head north to Michigan. But never Indianapolis.
In the past 11 years, I have found myself in Indianapolis for a number of reasons. I’ve made a number of business trips to Illinois and other points west, and to get there you have to go through Indianapolis. I’ve even gone to Indianapolis by choice a couple times. There really are some cool things to do and see there.
But I don’t remember ever being able to drive through Indianapolis without some kind of incident.
For the last, I don’t know how many years, I have tried to go through or around Indianapolis to the north or south without running into a traffic jam and have not been successful.
Part of the problem was that Interstate 465 through the city has been closed for construction for about seven decades. I remember one year coming back from Denver with our grandchildren when Interstate 70 was closed, so were routed to I-465, where there was a massive traffic jam. It just so happened that the air conditioning in our van had gone out and it was about a bajillion degrees outside, but we couldn’t open the windows because the 17-year locusts were out and they were dive bombing everything. Our granddaughter was ready to go into hysterics if one of the ugly insects made it into the van, so we sweltered while we waited. When we got to the east side of Indianapolis, there was construction there as well that left only one lane open. Great planning! Driving through Indianapolis was like being in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
But this year had to be better. On the way out west, we discovered that I-70 was finally open! We buzzed through Indianapolis like a 17-year locust one year early. We made it to Kansas City, where we met our daughter and her family, stayed a few days, then loaded up two grandchildren with associated stuffed animals, Legos, volleyballs and other necessary items.
On the way back, one of my sons was at the wheel and I was manning the GPS on the phone.
“Uh-oh,” I said. “It looks like there’s a big accident on I-70 in Indianapolis. It says there’s a 30-minute delay. But it looks like we can jump off onto I-465 and go around the south side.”
“Sounds good,” my son said, “except for one thing.” He pointed at a sign coming up on the right side of the highway.
It said: “I-465 South closed. Construction.”
Oh no! They got us again! In moments we pulled up behind a huge mass of stopped vehicles.
I frantically looked for an alternate route, but nothing looked promising. Besides, the overpasses over the highway were packed with cars bumper-to-bumper who had the same idea. We decided we just had to ride it out.
Which is what we did, for about 40 minutes. At least the air conditioning was working and there were no hordes of ugly bugs bouncing off the car.
We finally shot out of the traffic jam on the east side of town and suddenly it was as if there had never been a problem. Traffic thinned out and by the time we were a few miles outside of town there was hardly anyone around. I don’t know where everyone went, but they weren’t going where we were going and that was all right with me.
The rest of the trip was uneventful. Maybe next year we’ll be able to get through that town without incident. Or maybe we should just take a plane – but I’m too scared about what might happen if we tried to fly over Indianapolis. Who knows what waits in the clouds above Indiana? There are worse things than traffic jams.
David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected].