The End of State Roads in Indianapolis

01 July 1999. The day that Indianapolis lost its lost state roads. Now, if you take into consideration the entire city of Indianapolis, there are still plenty of state roads inside the city limits. But on 01 July 1999, the last numbered routes were dragged outside of, or became part of, Interstate 465. On that day, the last five INDOT roads were rerouted or entirely removed.

That day was a long time coming. The Indiana State Highway Commission, and later its successor INDOT, had been removing state owned highways from the city since 1967. The first road to go away was US 52. That road, which utilized two very old state roads to Indianapolis (the Lafayette Road and the Brookville Road), was being replaced already from Lebanon south. The first part of Interstate 65 built in Indiana was originally built as a part of US 52. When I-465 reached the southeast side of Marion County, US 52 was rerouted along the sections of I-465 that were in place at the time, along the south and west sides.

1973 saw the start of the removal of SR 100. The section that connected SR 431 (Keystone Avenue) to Shadeland Avenue along 86th and 82nd Streets was removed first. 1974 saw almost the entire route of SR 100 finally removed in favor of Interstate 465. The only section of SR 100 that was left after 1974, officially, was from US 40 south to I-465 along Shadeland Avenue.

In 1975, what I call a “wholesale slaughter” of state roads occurred. US 136 was truncated to High School Road and the westside entrance to I-74. US 36 was rerouted along the southside of Indianapolis, as was SR 67. US 421 was moved to follow the north and east legs of I-465. At this point, the only state roads inside I-465 were US 31, US 40, SR 100, SR 135 and two sections of SR 431 on the north and south sides.

The next removal would be in 1986 with the decommissioning of SR 431 along Madison Avenue on the south side. This would remove a eight mile section of the original US 31 (and OSR 1) from Indianapolis and Greenwood. Also, SR 431 on the north side would be cut back to I-465. Unlike the south side, the SR 431 on the northside was an almost 20 year old bypass of the original SR 431 that used Westfield Boulevard.

Then came 01 July 1999. On that day, SR 100 was completely removed from state inventory. SR 135 was rerouted from Troy Avenue to Thompson Road, two miles south, and outside the Interstate 465 loop. The last two highways that existed until that day, US 31 and US 40, were moved to multiplex with I-465 along the south and east sides. This left Indianapolis served, legally, by only I-65 and I-70. This is in keeping with the state law that requires all county seats in Indiana being connected by at least two state maintained highways.

The question that I have been asked a lot is “does (name a through road) still go through Indianapolis?” This is especially asked about US 31 and US 40, major (almost) cross-country highways. The answer I normally give is “well, kinda.” Legally, all of the US routes and state roads are actually continuous routes. They are all routed along I-465 between the two points these roads enter the city. Signage wise? Not on a bet. The only signage that shows how to get from one part of the route to another is a big green sign that states “For (road) (direction) follow I-465 to Exit (number).” There are no signs along I-465 to show travelers that they on the route they want.

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