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Interstate 469 Indiana

 

Routing

Interstate 469 (named the Ronald Reagan Expressway in 2005) bypasses Indiana's second largest city, Fort Wayne, from south of the city to north of the city intersecting only with Interstate 69 at both ends. The bypass basically serves local traffic by giving a high speed option to the eastern reaches of the Fort Wayne metropolitan area. Interstate 69 itself stays to the west of the city.

The freeway is composed mostly of concrete construction and maintains two lanes in each direction for the entire 31 mile duration, with the exception for an occasional EXIT ONLY auxiliary lane. The Interstate 469 design includes a concrete median with ample inside and outside shoulders. The freeway overall is very compact however with a very urban feel even though it generally routes through rural environs of the Fort Wayne metropolitan area.

Similar to other areas of Indiana, the Fort Wayne bypass carries other signed routes away from the city (similar to the Indianapolis overlaps of Interstate 465). In tandem with Interstate 69, U.S. Routes 24, 30 and 33 are routed around the city proper. U.S. 30 is routed to the north, while U.S. 24 and 33 are routed to the south around the Interstate highways. Along the way, a 1.5 mile wrong way overlap of U.S. 24 and U.S. 30 is carried along Interstate 469. As for the state routes, Indiana 1 and 37 both are marked as ending and beginning on both ends of the Interstate 69/469 belt, and are not routed around.

Shared U.S. Routes

Interstate 469 carries U.S. 24 from Exit 0 to Exit 19; U.S. 33 from Exit 11 to Exit 0; and U.S. 30 from Exit 19 to Exit 30 (northern terminus). No section of Interstate 469 is not shared with at least one U.S. highway. Only U.S. 27 remains on its original route into Fort Wayne, and that highway now ends at Interstate 69 Exit 111 in Fort Wayne rather than continuing north along the Interstate 69 corridor into Michigan.

History

AASHTO approved the numbering of Interstate 469 from an application by the state of Indiana on June 7, 1989. Construction of the roadway began in 1988, and the highway fully opened to traffic on October 23, 1995. The first segment to open was the southernmost segment between Interstate 69 and Indianapolis Road in September 1988; additional segments were built in a counter-clockwise direction, between January, August and November 1990 and October 1992, until the final segment, from Indiana 37 west, reconnected it to Interstate 69.1 Each segment was signed as Indiana 469 until the freeway was completed in 1995; at that time, the freeway designation gained Federal Highway Administration approval and shifted to Interstate 469. Groundbreaking for the $207 million occurred on July 13, 19841.

Interstate 469 was built instead of a long-proposed east-west freeway through the city of Fort Wayne. This east-west freeway, called out in the 1970 Fort Wayne/Allen County Transportation Plan, would have cost $110 million. This funding could not be found for the east-west freeway, so that project never was constructed. However, relief to U.S. 24 and U.S. 30 was needed due to heavy truck and through traffic in Fort Wayne. The southern half of Interstate 469 was planned to allow for a bypass of U.S. 24 (which used to run through downtown), and the northern half of Interstate 469 was designed to bypass U.S. 30 (now Indiana 930/Coliseum Boulevard). Originally the Interstate 469 freeway was to connect the southern half only (as of 1978), but by 1981 plans called for a complete bypass that would connect to Interstate 69 on either end.

The usefulness of Interstate 469 as a bypass to Interstate 69 is suspect, as evidenced in an article by The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: "But while I-469 is called the bypass, it likely won't ever serve as one for people traveling north or south through the city. While signs direct I-69 through-traffic to I-469, most drivers in the know avoid the route. Taking I-469 would add 12 miles to a trip around Fort Wayne compared with taking I-69."2 Some in the business community have suggested removing the signs that refer to Interstate 469 as a viable bypass of Fort Wayne, especially since people using Interstate 69 can enter the city center. However, trucks commonly use the bypass to avoid urban traffic. Interstate 469 is also useful for east-west travelers, especially those traveling on the busy U.S. 24 and U.S. 30 corridors. With the Hoosier Heartland Corridor upgrade to U.S. 24, increased traffic on the segment of Interstate 469 shared with U.S. 24 is likely.

Highway Guides

Southern Terminus - Interstate 69 - south of Fort Wayne, Indiana
Perspective from Interstate 469 south
Interstate 469 southbound, one mile before the terminus at Exit 1/Lafayette Center Road. Typical of Indiana exit numbering conventions, the terminal interchange is numbered Exit 0. Photo taken by 11/06/11.
The entrance ramp from Lafayette Center Road provides an auxiliary lane through to the ramp to Interstate 69-U.S. 33 north & U.S. 24 west. U.S. 24 will follow Interstate 69 north for six miles before heading westward to the Hoosier Heartland Corridor. U.S. 33 will follow Interstate 69 north to the U.S. 30 west & U.S. 33 north exit, 15 miles north of the Interstate 469 / 69 interchange. Photo taken 11/06/11.
Interstate 469 southbound at Exit 0B to Interstate 69-U.S. 33 north & U.S. 24 west. Exit 0A for Interstate 69 south to the Indiana capital city of Indianapolis departs in one half mile. Photo taken 11/06/11.
Traveling over Interstate 69, Interstate 469 sees the departure of Exit 0A/Interstate 69 southbound. Motorists utilizing this ramp will reach the Indianapolis Beltway/Interstate 465, 96 miles to the southwest. However to access the downtown areas of the Circle City, traffic will have to detour on Interstate 465 south to Interstate 70, as Interstate 69 never saw completion through Indianapolis. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (12/02).
Interstate 469 draws to a close at the transition to Lafayette Center Road. The traffic light governs the intersection for the GM Truck and Bus assembly plant. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (12/02).
Perspective from Lafayette Center Road east
The first sign of the pending transition of Lafayette Center Road eastbound onto Interstate 469 & U.S. 24-33. The Interstate 69 / 469 interchange is 0.75 miles to the east. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (12/02).
Just before Lafayette Center Road eastbound shifts onto Interstate 469 north is this traffic light for the General Motors (GM) Truck and Bus assembly. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (12/02).
All traffic interests to Interstate 69 depart in unison beyond the traffic light with the GM plant. Interstate 469 begins in one quarter mile. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (12/02).
Interstate 469 begins as the unnumbered exit to Interstate 69 departs. A directional ramp with two lanes leads to Interstate 69 northbound, completing the movement between U.S. 24 at Roanoke Station and I-69 north to Fort Wayne.
Note that both northbound Interstates 69 and 469 panels indicate Fort Wayne as a control city. This is the only sign in the area that gives Interstate 469 a control city. Photo taken by Thomas Decker (09/19/09).
Following the Lafayette Center Road ramp to the split for Interstate 69 north to Fort Wayne and Lansing and south to Muncie, Anderson and Indianapolis. This exit could be considered Exit 0A/B, but no signs exist of such a designation. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (12/02).
Perspective from Interstate 69 south
The first indication of Interstate 469 on Interstate 69 southbound is posted on this mileage sign near the entrance ramp from Lower Huntington Road. The mileage to Indianapolis is beyond the final 98 miles of Interstate 69. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (12/02).
One mile north of Exit 296B to Lafayette Center Road westbound. The Exit 296 interchange is a cloverleaf with the exception of a pretty impressive two lane directional ramp from Lafayette Center Road eastbound to Interstate 69 northbound. This upgraded ramp is most likely in place to serve a GM Truck and Bus assembly plant situated by the northwest quadrant of the interchange. Photo taken 11/06/11.
Now within one mile of the departure of U.S. 24 east and U.S. 33 south from Interstate 69 southbound. These two routes share a triplex with Interstate 469 eastward to the U.S. 33 departure at Exit 11. Photo taken 11/06/11.
A two lane exit ramp serves westbound Lafayette Center Road. The additional capacity is most likely also in place for the nearby GM truck and bus assembly plant. However with that stated, the ramp is probably only used to capacity a few hours during the day. Photo taken 11/06/11.
Traffic merges onto Interstate 69 south from Interstate 469 south as Exit 296A prepares to depart for northbound. Photo taken 11/06/11.
A loop ramp carries U.S. 24 east & 33 south onto Interstate 469 north. Fort Wayne International Airport resides just east of the junction and is served by Exits 2 and 6 of the freeway loop. Photo taken 11/06/11.
Perspective from Interstate 69 north
A pair of guide signs adorns this sign bridge, 1.25 miles south of the Interstate 469 southern terminus. Exit 296A serves the northbound beginning while Exit 296B connects to Lafayette Center Road west. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Mason (04/07/08).
Posted along side the one-half mile sign bridge of Exit 296A for Interstate 469 & U.S. 33 north and U.S. 24 east is a U.S. 30 trailblazer. Interstate 469 will intersect the U.S. 30 spoke out of Fort Wayne at Exit 19. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Mason (04/07/08).
U.S. 24 west and U.S. 33 north enter Interstate 69 via Interstate 469 south. U.S. 24 continues with Interstate 69 for six miles to Exit 302 while U.S. 33 travels an additional four miles to combine with U.S. 30 west. The alignment of U.S. 24 is proposed for realignment onto the north side of Interstate 469 when the expressway between New Haven and Ohio opens. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Mason (04/07/08).
Immediately thereafter, northbound Interstate 69 meets Exit 296B, Lafayette Center Road west from I-469 to U.S. 24 at Roanoke Station. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Mason (04/07/08).
Northern Terminus - Interstate 69 - north of Fort Wayne, Indiana
Perspective from Interstate 469 north
The last mainline interchange of Interstate 469 westbound is at Exit 29 / Maplecrest Road. The surface street serves northern reaches of Fort Wayne. Photo taken by Thomas Decker (02/06/12).
The final westbound shield for Interstate 469, posted with U.S. 30 after Exit 29. U.S. 30 overlaps with the Fort Wayne bypass between the terminus and Exit 19. The original routing through town is now signed as Indiana 930. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (12/02).
Entering the final mile of Interstate 469 west. Exit 31 connects the freeway with Interstate 69 and Auburn Road. U.S. 30 follows I-69 south six miles to U.S. 33 north in Fort Wayne. Photo taken 11/06/11.
Signs for Interstate 69 retained U.S. 27 shields from when the two ran in tandem to the Michigan state line. U.S. 27 was formally truncated to Exit 311 in 2002. Photo taken 11/06/11.
Interstate 469 westbound partitions three ramps: Interstate 69 north to Angola and Lansing, Michigan (Exit 31A), Auburn Road (Exit 31C) and Interstate 69 south & U.S. 30 west through Fort Wayne (Exit 31B). Photo taken 11/06/11.
Traffic to Interstate 69 north departs the ending Interstate 469. The state capital of Michigan is a 120 mile drive. Photo taken 11/06/11.
Mainline Interstate 469 westbound traffic defaults onto Exit 31B for Interstate 69 south to Indianapolis. Exit 31C constitutes a lone ramp to Auburn Road and nearby Dupont Hospital. Photo taken 11/06/11.
Perspective from Interstate 69 south
Exit 316 departs Interstate 69 south for Indiana 1 (Dupont Road) north, one mile north of the Interstate 469 southbound beginning (Exit 315). Photo taken 11/06/11.
U.S. 30 combines with Interstate 469 east for 12 miles to New Haven, where the route resumes its eastward course to Van Wert, Ohio. When the U.S. 24 expressway between New Haven and Ohio opens, the designation will shift from the southern half of I-469 to the northern. Photo taken 11/06/11.
Exit 315 leaves Interstate 69 south for Interstate 469 & U.S. 30 east. The freeway travels through suburban environs through to Exit 25. South from there, the freeway stays outside the built up areas of Fort Wayne and New Haven. Photo taken 11/06/11.
Historical Perspective from Interstate 69 south
All signs for Interstate 469 along Interstate 69 southbound dating from the 1992 opening of the freeway were replaced when the freeway was six-laned. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (12/02).
The on-ramp from Indiana 1 (Dupont Road) south forms a third southbound lane to Interstate 469 & U.S. 30 east. This overhead was replaced and the trailblazer for U.S. 24 removed. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (12/02).
In many places on Interstate 69 through the Fort Wayne metropolitan area, the pull through panels only displayed the overlapped U.S. Highways. U.S. 27 was still posted on this assembly as a holdout from before the route was truncated south from Lansing. New signs omit any reference to the US Route until Exit 111. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (12/02).
Perspective from Interstate 69 north
Interstate 69 north & U.S. 30 east, one mile south of the Interstate 469 northern terminus (Exit 315). Photo taken 11/06/11.
Now one half mile south of Exit 315, U.S. 30 ends its six mile overlap with Interstate 69 at the forthcoming trumpet interchange. Photo taken 11/06/11.
Interstate 69 north expands to four lanes for the Exit 315 ramp departure of Interstate 469 & U.S. 30 east to New Haven. The tandem will eventually be joined by U.S. 24 once the expressway east to Toledo is open. Photo taken 11/06/11.
Interstate 469 skims the northern suburbs through to Indiana 37 near Thurman. U.S. 30 follows the freeway to Exit 19. Interstate 69 meanwhile meets Indiana 1 north in one half mile and Union Chapel Road at a new interchange in 1.5 miles. Photo taken 11/06/11.
Historical Perspective from Interstate 69 north
A look at the original Exit 115 signage for Interstate 469 east from when Interstate 69 was only four overall lanes. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (12/02).
The scene where a fourth lane now begins is where Interstate 69 north expanded to three lanes for Interstate 469 in 1992. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (12/02).
Interstate 69 north splits with the eastbound off-ramp to Interstate 469. Cardinal directions for I-469 change twice along its 31-mile path. Photo taken by Brian Dowd (12/02).

Sources:

  1. "RIBBON-CUTTING OPENS I-469 BAYH SAYS $207 MILLION ROAD WILL PRODUCE JOBS, NECONOMIC SECURITY." Journal Gazette, The (Fort Wayne, IN). October 24, 1995.
  2. Bypassing THE BYPASS: After 20 years, Interstate 469 remains a lightly traveled loop by Benjamin Lanka, The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, July 20, 2008

Page Updated August 22, 2012.

 
Mileage

State Indiana
Mileage 30.83
Cities Fort Wayne
Junctions Interstate 69, Interstate 69
Source: October 31, 2002 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
Interstate 469 Annual Average Daily Traffic

County From: To: AADT Composite
Allen Lafayette Center Rd. Exit 0/ I-69/ U.S. 30/33 25,050
Allen Exit 0/ I-69/ U.S. 30/33 Exit 1 /Lafayette Center Rd. 25,050
Allen Exit 1/ Lafayette Center Rd. Exit 2/ Indianapolis Road 25,290
Allen Exit 2/ Indianapolis Road Exit 6/ IN 1 south/ Bluffton Rd. 16,070
Allen Exit 6/ IN 1 south/ Bluffton Rd. Exit 9/ Winchester Road 19,530
Allen Exit 9/ Winchester Road Exit 11/ U.S. 27/33 south 19,820
Allen Exit 11/ U.S. 27/33 south Exit 13/ Adams Center Road 17,280
Allen Exit 13/ Adams Center Road Exit 15/ Tillman Road 15,270
Allen Exit 15/ Tillman Road Exit 17/ Minnich Road 16,820
Allen Exit 17 /Minnich Road Exit 19/ U.S. 30 east/ New Haven 17,750
Allen Exit 19/ U.S. 30 east/ New Haven Exit 21/ U.S. 24 east/ New Haven 28,840
Allen Exit 21/ U.S. 24 east/ New Haven Exit 25/ IN 37 north/ Stellhorn Rd. 29,410
Allen Exit 25/ IN 37 north/ Stellhorn Rd. Exit 29/ Maplecrest Road 26,950
Allen Exit 29/ Maplecrest Road Exit 31/ Interstate 69 33,090
Source: Indiana Department of Transportation 2000 Annual Average Daily Traffic Volumes Map

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