HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) - U.S. 31 is about to undergo a makeover to the tune of almost $436 million in Hamilton County alone.
And the project is on the fast track.
Underpasses and overpasses will be built at seven locations, including 111th, 126th, and 169th streets. There will be no highway access at these points. There will be 11 traditional interchanges. Four of them will be roundabouts, like those along Keystone Avenue.
Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman Will Wingfield told a large group of people gathered Thursday at Carmel High School that the project is getting under way this year.
"We're upgrading about 13 miles of the existing 31 north of Indianapolis to freeway standards, and that brings a lot of benefits: traffic flow, safety, improved access," he said.
Keystone Avenue's new, easy traffic flow through Carmel is being copied for U.S. 31
Eleven new interchanges are being built between Interstate 465 and Ind. 38. Three of them will be the roundabout variety.
"We're designing them specifically for state highways," Wingfield said. "We get a lot of trucks, so we want to make sure they can navigate them well, as well. But in terms of doing that, it's something we're increasingly adopting as an agency."
The part of the project that runs through Hamilton County should be completed by the end of 2015.
And the change won't be without hassles. Over the next several years, designers said, there will be narrower lanes, very small shoulders and slower traffic. Residents and business owners in the area have been warned to prepare for rerouting traffic. But when it's completed,
U.S. 31 will look and drive differently. Wingfield is confident the frustration will be worth it.
"Because it's more like an interstate, the only access will be on entrance and exit ramps," he said.
The U.S. 31 corridor projects span Hamilton, Howard, Marshall and St. Joseph counties. The total cost is close to $1 billion.
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