As part of Interstate 69's extension south of Indianapolis, the Indiana Department of Transportation will renumber every mile marker and exit along I-69 in northern Indiana, a shift INDOT officials said would be as "seamless" as possible.
To ease the changes, INDOT will simply add 200 to each mile marker and exit, officials said Wednesday in a briefing. For example, exit 116 at Dupont Road will become exit 316. The changes will begin in August and should be finished in October, said INDOT spokeswoman Mary Foster.
Through at least 2015, exit signs also will display both the old and new exit numbers. The state will maintain the dual signs through 2015 and start removing them in 2017, Foster said.
Although Wednesday was the first formal briefing on the changes, Foster said INDOT has been reaching out to individual mayors and other local officials in central and northern Indiana.
Most local officials "don't seem to be getting worked up about" the transition, Foster said.
Still, some wonder if the changes may cause confusion among police, emergency workers, businesses and tourists, especially since INDOT's Fort Wayne district plans to make changes along the interstate's southbound lanes before updating signs for northbound traffic.
Dan Avery, director of the Northeast Indiana Regional Coordinating Council, an area traffic agency, said he was happy with the simple 200-based markers but asked how police would respond to accidents while the north- and southbound lanes have different numbers.
"I'm still a little concerned about how the signage will go in place and potential confusion," he said. "We're going to have to think it through a little bit."
Meanwhile, INDOT and Indiana State Police will work together to update statewide traffic software, allowing local police agencies quick access to the changes, said Sandra Flum, project manager for the I-69 extension.
The first three stages of the extension, a 65-mile stretch from Evansville north to the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center in Martin County, is scheduled to be largely complete by the end of 2012.