Planning I-465…and Arguments

When the planning for Interstate 465 was underway, to say that it was a bit contentious can be, at times, an understatement. This was especially true on the east and north sides of the loop. Most arguments made against the plan of the interstate were legal in nature. One actually turned violent.

The first discussion that I found involved arguments of the legal kind involving the northern leg of 465. An injunction was sought to stop further public discussions concerning the building of the road. The court proceedings were in May 1961. Arthur H. Gemmer, attorney, represented some 40 people against the interstate, and its construction near 96th Street. The argument was that the State Highway Commission broke a 1945 state statute by not consulting county and city officials as to the location of the road.

The remonstrators wanted to halt hearings on the proposed route until the Bureau of Public Roads could rule on the appeal they filed about the location. The court hearing was simply for an injunction to stop the hearings, because the court in question did not have jurisdiction over the road proposals. The remonstrators hoped, in the end, that the interstate would be pushed further north into Hamilton County, as opposed to the 96th Street corridor as originally designed (and later built).

Two months later, on 13 July 1961, the same remonstrators were involved in an actual violent argument at North Central High School at an I-465 planning meeting. The meeting was already advertised as not going to be turned into a legal battleground. That didn’t stop an attorney to attempt introducing legal briefs into the meeting.

The leader of the meeting, Oral S. Craig of the State Highway Department, told the attorney to be seated, and a number of the 400 people at the meeting started shouting angrily.

Especially contentious was the area around Spring Mill Road and the proposed highway. One man, a Stanley Valinet, contended that plans for a $2.5 million shopping center at the corner of Spring Mill Road and 96th Street had been approved two years prior. Part of that land would be part of the plan for a cloverleaf interchange at US 31 and I-465. The state argued that the “construction” of the shopping center only started after publication of the proposed routes, and that the entire construction to that point involved several sections of concrete block foundation.

At that meeting, it was pointed out that “Line E,” or the proposed preferred alternative, involved removing 66 homes from Shadeland Avenue to Boone County. The “Line D” proposal would have taken out 83 homes in the same distance.

Indianapolis News, 6 July 1960, showing the chosen preferred route of Interstate 465 on the north side, and two of the abandoned choices. (Also note the “Proposed Ind. 100” running north and south west of Zionsville Road.)

The last discussion about the proposed I-465 involved the east side location of the road. The Warren Civic Association made an appointment to meet with state highway officials on 13 September 1961. The meeting was to try to convince those officials to move the proposed route of I-465 three miles to the east. State and Federal officials had already approved the location of the road, but construction would be in a holding pattern until the location of the northern leg of the highway was settled.

Part of the issue were 14 homes that were built in the proposed path of the interstate…after the plans for the route were announced. Each of those homes cost approximately $30,000. “The state of Indiana is going to pay through the nose,” stated Lloyd C. Fleetwood, Warren Civic Association Vice President.

Moving the route three miles to the east would eliminate the need to tear down a residential area, as there was no such thing further east. Such a location would have put the interstate at or near Cumberland. But officials at both the state and federal levels had already, repeatedly, ruled against the proposal. It didn’t stop them from trying, however.

There were more “discussions” concerning the locations and designs of I-465. Especially contentious was the 21st Street grade crossing on the west side of Marion County. The north leg would be the hardest part to get built, as from proposal decision to completion took almost a decade.

3 thoughts on “Planning I-465…and Arguments

  1. I’m not familiar with the 21st St. issue mentioned at the end- will you be discussing this later? Thanks!

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