Indianapolis – Governor Mike Pence today celebrated the opening of the new U.S. 31 Hamilton County freeway with Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard, Westfield Mayor Andy Cook, Congresswoman Susan Brooks and Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Brandye Hendrickson, as they joined project personnel, designers and contractors to commend five years of ambitious construction resulting in free-flowing traffic on U.S. 31 in Hamilton County.
“Hamilton County has seen significant growth in recent years and ensuring our infrastructure keeps pace with this part of the state is essential,” said Governor Pence. “The unprecedented progress on the new U.S. 31 in Hamilton County and points north is a tribute to the vision of leaders across Indiana. Hoosiers can be confident that my administration will continue to build on these significant investments and ensure that Indiana remains the Crossroads of America.”
Last week, northbound and southbound U.S. 31 traffic was shifted onto new bridges over 106th and 116th streets, opening the freeway to three lanes in each direction and effectively removing the final two traffic signals from U.S. 31 through Carmel. All ramps at the I-465 and U.S. 31 interchange, including the new free-flowing ramps from I-465 to northbound U.S. 31, are anticipated to be open to traffic and in their final configurations next week.
“The opening of the new U.S. 31 in Hamilton County is the culmination of a decades-long effort to build a safer, more efficient connection between Indianapolis and South Bend that would be a catalyst for economic development along the entire corridor,” Congresswoman Susan Brooks said. “This highway now moves at the speed of commerce. By completing U.S. 31 earlier than originally planned, Governor Pence and the leadership in Hamilton County are sending a strong message that this corridor, and all of Central Indiana is truly – open for business.”
“U.S. 31 has always been a vital corridor for Carmel and we were happy to support the upgrade to this highway, not just for our benefit but for the benefit of the State of Indiana,” said Mayor Brainard. “We applaud INDOT for working with local communities throughout the process of improving traffic flow through Carmel and all of Hamilton County. It’s good to see the substantial completion of the highway project and we look forward to next spring when the remaining related projects will be completed.”
About the New U.S. 31
INDOT broke ground on the new U.S. 31 Hamilton County freeway in 2011 near the north end of the project at State Road 38. Approximately $350 million has been invested to upgrade 13 miles of highway, build 49 new bridges and 12 new interchanges through Carmel and Westfield.
“Upgrading U.S. 31 to freeway standards has helped open the door for Westfield to compete for national economic development projects,” Mayor Cook said. “The US 31 freeway has brought Westfield about 15 minutes closer to Indianapolis and the Indianapolis International Airport. Combine that with development projects like Grand Park, and now our family-focused community is being recognized as one of the best places to raise a family.”
Combined with the previously completed U.S. 31 Major Moves projects near Kokomo and South Bend, more than 32 traffic signals have been removed from U.S. 31 north of Indianapolis – saving drivers 30 minutes of travel time. This eases congestion, increases safety, and provides continuity of commerce and regional travel for a U.S. highway that stretches from Michigan to Alabama.
Final work continues in 2016
Construction along the corridor is expected to continue in 2016 as crews complete the U.S. 31/Meridian Street transition underneath I-465 and the roundabouts on 106th and 116th streets under U.S. 31. The speed limit between I-465 and Old Meridian Street will remain 45 mph through the work zone. The speed limit north of Old Meridian Street will be raised to 55 mph.