The 1970 Fort Wayne/Allen County Transportation Plan outlined an east-west freeway across the city of Fort Wayne. With cost estimates at $110 million, funding was not allocated and the freeway was never constructed. However with increases in heavy truck and through traffic in Fort Wayne, leaders sought relief for U.S. 24 and U.S. 30. The southern half of Interstate 469 was subsequently planned as a bypass of U.S. 24, which used to run through Downtown. The northern arc of I-469 was designed to bypass U.S. 30, which previously followed Coliseum Boulevard (Indiana 930). As of 1978, only the southern half of the Fort Wayne bypass was envisioned. This plan was amended by 1981 to incorporate a complete bypass from I-69 on either end.
Groundbreaking for the $207 million Fort Wayne bypass took place on July 13, 1984. The first portion of I-469 built was the southernmost segment between Interstate 69 and Indianapolis Road. It was finished in September 1988. Additional segments were built in a counter-clockwise direction, between January, August and November 1990 and October 1992. The final section was completed on October 23, 1995, reconnecting I-469 with I-69 from Indiana 37 west.1
AASHTO approved the numbering of Interstate 469 from an application by the state of Indiana on June 7, 1989. Prior to completion of the entire beltway, succeeding segments of the Fort Wayne belt line opened to traffic were signed as Indiana 469. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved redesignating the freeway as Interstate 469 following its completion in 1995.1.
The usefulness of Interstate 469 as a bypass was questioned in a 2008 article printed in the The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:2
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.
Some in the business community suggested removing signs that refer to Interstate 469 as a viable bypass of Fort Wayne. However, trucks commonly use the bypass to avoid urban traffic and I-469 is also useful for regional travelers, especially those along the busy U.S. 24 (Hoosier Heartland Corridor) and U.S. 30 corridors.