Colonel H. Weir Cook Memorial Drive

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The Col. H. Weir Cook Memorial Drive is the newest of Indianapolis' three expressways and serves as the access road for the new Indianapolis International Airport Midfield Terminal, opened in 2008 to replace an older terminal located closer to Interstate 465 and the former Airport Expressway (now Sam Jones Expressway). The highway is a short spur that connects the Col. H. Weir Cook Terminal with Interstate 70 via a complex of newly built ramps that direct traffic from Interstates 465 & 74 and Interstate 70 into the airport. The name of the expressway, along with the new midfield terminal itself, is from Colonel Harvey Weir Cook, a local pilot who died during World War II. In 1944 the airport in Indianapolis at the same location that it is now, was named the Weir Cook Municipal Airport. In the 1970s, the airport gained an international designation and became Indianapolis International Airport. When the construction of the new Midfield Terminal was taking place, there was a movement to rename the airport in his honor. When the Indianapolis Airport Authority decided to keep the current name, the terminal and access drive were named in his honor as part of a compromise.

Guide by Thomas Decker.

Col. H. Weir Cook Memorial Drive inbound
Starting on the collector distributor ramp for westbound Interstate 70 traffic. By this point, the ramp provides access to both the Indianapolis International Airport and Ronald Reagan Parkway north / AmeriPlex Parkway south. The Ronald Reagan Parkway is part of a north-south connector in eastern Hendricks County that will connect the airport and Interstate 70 with Interstate 74 and eventually Interstate 65 in Boone County. The AmeriPlex Parkway continues Ronald Reagan Parkway to the south of Interstate 70, hooking toward the southeast with a connection to Indiana 67 (Kentucky Avenue), providing access to the AmeriPlex business park. Photo taken 11/17/11.
The access road to the airport curves toward the northeast from the interchange complex at Interstate 70. Here, a sign designates the road as the Col. H. Weir Cook Memorial Drive. Up ahead is the only interchange along the short access road, serving the Cell Phone Lot, where visitors can wait for free for incoming travelers to the airport, as well as several service roads. Photo taken 11/17/11.
Now at the interchange for the Cell Phone Lot and Service Roads. Those service roads are North Perimeter Road and South Perimeter Road. The North Perimeter Road hooks up with several maintenance facilities and Washington Street (U.S. 40). The South Perimeter Road hugs Interstate 70 providing access to the Fed Ex hub facility (the second largest in FedEx after Memphis) and the hotels that are around the old terminal along High School Road and Sam Jones Expressway. Photo taken 11/17/11.
Northeast of the interchange with the Cell Phone Lot and Service Roads, the Col. H. Weir Cook Memorial Drive splits up as the northbound travel lanes will hug the various parking lots to the right with the southbound lanes on the left side. The control tower for the Indianapolis International Airport is ahead in the distance. Photo taken 11/17/11.
To the left, a ramp that hooks around from the southbound lanes of the Col. H. Weir Cook Memorial Drive circles back onto the northbound lanes. Parking and Rental Car returns are accessed from that left lane while the right two lanes continue to the Col. H. Weir Cook Terminal. Both the Economy and Long Term lots can be accessed from that left lane. The highway signs for the Indianapolis International Airport are blue with a nonstandard font on them. Photo taken 11/17/11.
Further ahead, the left lane serves traffic with the parking lots while the three northbound lanes prepare for their split near the terminal. The airport signs for the Departures and Arrivals are the only signs with Spanish on them in Indianapolis. Photo taken 11/17/11.
The left lane serving the parking lots briefly make its back to the northbound travel lanes of the Col. H. Weir Cook Memorial Drive for traffic from the parking lots to reach the terminal. Up ahead, the left lanes direct traffic into the parking garage and the rental car facility and ground transportation center. The construction of the new terminal provided for the consolidation of rental car services into the parking garage and a new ground transportation center that provides visitors various transportation options into the city, including IndyGo service to Downtown Indianapolis. Photo taken 11/17/11.
Past the ramp for the parking garage, the three northbound ramps split into two separate lanes for the Arrivals section, located in the lower level of the terminal and the Departures section, located in the upper level. The A Terminal of the airport can be viewed in the distance. Photo taken 11/17/11.
On the Departures level, the front of the Col. H. Weir Cook Terminal is visible to the right where drop offs take place for departing passengers. The terminal was built with environmentally friendly features that provide for a dramatic setting. Passengers go through the ticketing area to enter the Civic Plaza, an open mall that leads to the two terminals of the airport through the first security area built following 9/11. All of this makes the journey through the Indianapolis International Airport among the most pleasant for American airports. Photo taken 11/17/11.
Col. H. Weir Cook Memorial Drive outbound
Leaving the Departures level of the terminal, a small sign directs traffic back into the parking garage for those who may desire to drop their car in there upon dropping off passengers. Photo taken 11/17/11.
Now on the southbound lanes from the Col. H. Weir Cook Terminal. The far left lane provides another entry point into the long term parking lot while the next lane will become the lane for the economy lot and the northbound lanes of the loop that lead back to the terminal. Traffic bound for Interstate 70 use the right two lanes. Photo taken 11/17/11.
A small sign to the right welcomes new arrivals to the Circle City of Indianapolis (population 829,718). Photo taken 11/17/11.
A small ramp to the left directs motorists into the economy lot. The left lane then continues to loop around back onto the northbound lanes to the terminal. Photo taken 11/17/11.
Now back at the point where the northbound and southbound lanes had split, another ramp leads to the Cell Phone parking lot and Service Roads. Two hotels, located over by the site of the old terminal, can be reached from South Perimeter Road off this exit. Photo taken 11/17/11.
Now at the exit to the Indianapolis International Airport, traditional INDOT signs adorn the sign bridges as the left two lanes are directed toward Interstate 70 West and Downtown Indianapolis. Both Interstates 465 and 74 can also be reached from those lanes. The far right lane will exit off onto Ronald Reagan Parkway and the second lane from the right will break off toward the AmeriPlex Parkway exit ramp and the Interstate 70 West entrance ramp toward Plainfield, Terre Haute, and St. Louis, Missouri. Photo taken 11/17/11.
Having looped back toward the northeast onto Interstate 70, there are a couple of ways onto Interstate 70 eastbound en route toward Downtown Indianapolis. Since the completion of the Accelerate 465 project to rebuild the Interstate 465/74 and Interstate 70 interchange (Exit 73), all traffic bound from Interstate 465 and 74 in either direction are directed onto the collector distributor lanes toward the interchange. Photo taken 11/17/11.



Photo Credits:

11/17/11 by Thomas Decker

Connect with:
Interstate 70

Page Updated 01-08-2012.