INDOT provides updates U.S. 31, announces delay

The Major Moves construction project to revamp U.S. 31 is under way in Hamilton County.

The project, estimated to cost about $600 million in total, will upgrade U.S. 31 to freeway standards from I-465 to Ind. 38, eliminating traffic lights and cutting travel time on U.S. 31 from 96th Street to South Bend by 30 minutes. The designs of the plan were made to handle the traffic volumes of 2035.

Indiana Dept. of Transportation said the project will be finished in 2017, and Lead Civil Engineer Kelli McNamara said the project will have a positive impact in Hamilton County.

“The project will begin at 96th Street and end on the south side of 216th Street,” McNamara said.

At an open house Wednesday, INDOT officials said most of the construction schedule remains the same, but a few changes have been made. INDOT last week announced that, beginning spring 2012, sections of Keystone Parkway near U.S. 31 in Carmel will be closed during the construction of four new bridges.

Construction began earlier this year with the U.S. 31 and Ind. 38 interchange along with the widening of the 146th Street bridge over U.S. 31. Starting next year, U.S. 31 construction will span the area from the Monon Trail to just south of Greyhound Pass. Keystone is expected to be closed near U.S. 31 for a few months in either direction as traffic is shifted during construction.

In addition to these closures, INDOT Project Manager Gary Pence said work on the 146th Street bridge has been significantly delayed, as crews have experienced difficulties in relocating utilities. The work was scheduled to be completed late this year. However, Pence said it now will not be completely finished until spring. Between later this fall and next spring, though, Pence said traffic should flow just as it did before INDOT began its work on the bridge.

Another change was made to INDOT’s timetable for right of way acquisition. Pence said the department has significantly sped up its schedule for acquiring property and plans to have purchased most of the necessary land by August 2012.

For more updates and information about the project, visit www.us31hamiltoncounty.in.gov.