Archaeological discoveries made this past May have, according to officials, added seven months and $5 million in protracted costs to Indianapolis’ IndyGo Downtown bus transit center project.
The transit center, which when completed with be a hub for most of the city's bus lines, is now on pace to be completed in mid-June 2016. The project was initially slated for completion in November 2015. Construction, however, was halted when excavators found the remnants of previous buildings at the site. The transit center is being built on Washington Street between Alabama and Delaware streets.
The estimated cost of the project has risen from $20 million to $26.5 million, largely because of the archaeological findings, IndyGo spokesman Bryan Luellen said. A federal grant is covering $13.5 million, but IndyGo will have to come up with the difference for the unexpected costs.
The significance of the historical findings at the site were “founded” in foundations of previous buildings, dating to the 1800s. These foundations didn't necessarily warrant a months-long delay, Luellen said, but construction crews couldn't work around them.
"It's just a function of where the stuff is located that they couldn't continue working," Luellen said. Work resumed at a normal pace in October 2015. "We're pretty much cleared of the archaeological monitoring, and that was the delay," he said.
IndyGo is in talks with the Indiana State Museum to display artifacts, Luellen said.
In addition to construction delays, the archaeological findings pushed back changes to IndyGo's bus lines. IndyGo is planning to alter 27 of its 31 routes but not until the new transit center opens.
The transit hub will be a 14,000-sq-ft building with 19 bus bays and retail shopping areas. The project is expected to shorten commutes for bus riders by enabling more efficient routes.