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Pence breaks ground on new I-65 construction project

GREENWOOD, In. (WISH) — Indiana Governor Mike Pence visited Greenwood Tuesday to break ground on a new road construction project.

It’s part of the state’s Major Moves 2020 effort.

Construction signs will be a common sight on I-65 this year, especially at Greenwood’s Main Street exit.

Pence and other state lawmakers broke ground on the latest state road improvement project Tuesday morning.

“Improvements on I-65 are going to be a recurring theme across the Hoosier state this year with about $500 million in projects, including these Major Moves 2020 projects,” he said.

The construction will expand the interstate from Southport Road in Indianapolis to the Main Street exit at Greenwood. According to INDOT, the project should be completed in November 2015.

This is a move that supporters of the 2020 plan feel is necessary for a shift in population.

“We’re getting ahead of the curve on this one,” said State Rep. Woody Burton, R-Whiteland. “We are getting increased traffic, we’ve got more people coming to Johnson County but we’re going to have this project done before it gets to a crisis management stage.”

“And we’re going to have to maintain those roads and make them bigger and better if we’re going to maintain our position as Crossroads of America,” said State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso.

Pence also announced the award of the next 2020 project contract for the expansion of I-65 from Greenwood to Franklin, which should be completed in 2016.

He feels these projects are worth the millions in taxpayer dollars because the investment will pay dividends down the road.

“Roads mean jobs and I don’t just mean the jobs of people who build roads,” Governor Pence said. “We’re making sure the infrastructure that exists today has the capacity to meet the growing needs of a growing Indiana economy.”

Since 2013, $800 million has been available for road and bridge projects by the state.

The budget currently sitting in the state legislature includes another $300 million in state funds to rehabilitate the interstate roads in Indiana.