INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - It's hard to ignore the flashing signs you see driving along I-70. Come Thursday, 70 will be closed from 6 am to 6 pm. Not for roadwork, but to get dolled up.
"We have this gorgeous airport, we have this wonderful downtown, but the trip between has left a little to be desired!" said Dave Foresell of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful said
That's why Keep Indianapolis Beautiful has joined forces with IN-DOT and the Eli Lilly Foundation for this giant project.
"We can do big things in our city when people come together and focus on the right things!, said Robert Smith, president of the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation.
In this case he says, the right thing is planting 1614 trees, 995 shrubs, 71,309 perennials and lots of mulch and other material. The I-70 project will cost about $2 million.
We found out your tax dollars are paying for a $1 million federal Department of Transportation enhancement grant while the Lilly Foundation is matching it with the other $1 million.
$1 million has been spent on contracting, engineering, landscaping and planning while the other $1 million was spent on all of the planting materials, some public art yet to be installed and manpower.
Lilly says this project could cost a lot more than $2 million. But, they say, their some 9,000 volunteers rolling up their sleeves and getting busy.
You probably didn't know that Washington values volunteers at $20 an hour.
"So you have 9000 volunteers working four hour shifts. That's 36,000 hours of time that volunteers are putting in just tomorrow. It would cost more than $700,000! Just in one day" Foresell said.
But regardless of the potential benefits of this project, it's going to cause a big headache for drivers during the morning and afternoon rush-hours Thursday.
State police and the Indiana Department of Transportation say public safety is being endangered by metal scrappers.
Hoosiers are being hit with the coldest weather statewide in about three years, and officials are warning drivers about black ice.
A regional planning commission in northwest Indiana is scheduled to vote on whether to move forward with a plan to build the 47-mile-long Illiana Expressway that would connect Interstate 65 near Lowell with Interstate 55 south of Chicago.