By the fall of 2024, IndyGo’s Purple Line is expected to provide some of the city’s most distressed neighborhoods along the East 38th Street corridor and northward with better access to jobs, groceries and safe travel.
But before the $188 million rapid-transit bus line moves its first passenger, there’s still a lot of work to do. Building of passenger stations has yet to begin; all progress so far has laid the groundwork for future construction.
IndyGo broke ground on the Purple Line in late February, and construction has been on track since, said IndyGo spokeswoman Carrie Black, although she cautioned that supply chain challenges or other problems could still cause delays at some point.
“Right now, we’re going through and laying the groundwork and infrastructure for the line, including some storm sewer separation, street paving, sidewalks and curb ramps,” Black told IBJ in an email.
The agency has also acquired all necessary land for the line, which will include dedicated bus lanes. The Purple Line will run from downtown to the Ivy Tech Community College campus just south of Fort Harrison State Park, in the heart of Lawrence. It replaces Route 39, one of IndyGo’s busiest, and will provide more frequent service.
Improvements to the rapid-transit version of the route, besides the dedicated bus lanes, include nearly 10 miles of additional or repaired sidewalks and nearly 27 miles of street resurfacing. IndyGo is also working with Citizens Energy Group on stormwater improvements.
Purple Line construction is currently causing its second major detour. Westbound lanes of East 38th Street from Keystone Avenue to Emerson Avenue closed July 11; they are scheduled to reopen in November.
Contractors have recently poured concrete for the terminus, a bus-charging facility at the end of the line, at Ivy Tech. It will include a break area for bus drivers.
The first 12 stops of the Purple Line, starting downtown, are shared with the Red Line, IndyGo’s first bus rapid-transit line, which opened in September 2019. The remaining 18 stations on the 15.2-mile line, mostly along 38th Street and Post Road, will not be built until next year, Black said.
The Purple Line is partially funded by an $81 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant. The rest comes from a combination of local and federal sources.
Bloomington-based Crider & Crider Inc. is being paid $95.6 million for its work on roads, drainage and sidewalks. Indianapolis-based F.A. Wilhelm Construction Co. is building the bus stations, for $18.2 million.