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State to widen Interstate 65 south of Southport

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Greenwood-area commuters should have more breathing room on Interstate 65 after a highway-widening project planned by the Indiana Department of Transportation.

INDOT will be able to expand a section of I-65 from Southport to Franklin after Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill releasing $200 million in highway construction money, spokesman Will Wingfield said.

The state also plans to expand I-65 in the Lafayette area from State Road 38 to State Road 26, he said. The start dates of each project weren’t immediately available.

The I-65 expansion on the south side would run from Southport Road to State Road 44 near Franklin, a stretch with poor pavement conditions and heavy truck traffic at times. The highway has two lanes running in each direction from Franklin to Greenwood and three from Greenwood to Southport.

The project is still under design, but Wingfield said INDOT is looking to add lanes by maximizing the existing right-of-way. Lanes could be added in the 60-foot-wide grassy median, or in the auxiliary ramp lanes along the outside, he said.

The $200 million was a compromise on Pence’s push to take $400 million out of the Major Moves 2020 Trust Fund, created last year during the General Assembly’s budget session.

Pence and House leaders argued that the money is needed now, but Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, cut the amount in half based on the state's financial condition. The other $200 million could be released after a review of the state's finances this December by the State Budget Committee.

INDOT would spend the additional money, if granted, on Interstate 69 northeast of State Road 37 and 116th Street, and on I-65 in southern Indiana, Wingfield said.

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  • i agree
    much of the traffic backups and dangerous driving conditions are due to trucks utilizing both driving lanes heavily.
  • @Matt
    I don't think comparing our highways to other highways is a worthwhile exercise. Urban highways contribute to a multitude of societal problems and take money away from transit options that help people get around and provide positive externalities. Let's compare our transit system as a whole to something actually good, instead of other highways.
  • Truck Lane?
    If all this growth is driven by the trucking industry, why don't we make them pay into a fund to create truck only lanes on area interstates?
    • behind the times
      Listen to all you transit Nazis. Not winning any support for your fancy trains by being hateful. I65 is already behind the times when it comes to urban/suburban interstates. It has little to do with car traffic and more to do with the indy area and Indiana in general being a trucking hub. Obviously none of you drive on I65 south of downtown. They are finally updating I65/465 interchange (which is one of the busiest in the country) about 15 years too late. I65 is dangerous on the southside because of all the trucks. Look at any other major city in the country - even places that are sacred to transit hipsters such as Austin and Portland. Do you think the busiest highway in the area is only 2 lanes a few miles away from their central city? nope.
    • Just When I Moved Away
      Bummer. Now, I wish I hadn't moved. Nothing draws young professionals in to a city more than additional money for widening highways. We don't want transit or urban living. We want to be in our cars at all times!
    • Hooray for Automobiles!
      I can't wait to take my car and explore every square inch of this beautiful new addition to our great state. Hooray for Indiana! What can we pave over next?
    • roads roads roads
      The hypocrisy of Mike Pence and the rest of our Ruralpublican legislators is amazing. There is all the money in the world for roads and none at all for mass transit.
    • $200 million??
      Wait a second, I thought roads were free?!?
    • referendum
      Will there need to be a referendum by the region to delegate this transportation funding increase? The spending of $200 million should be put up to a vote in a similar manner to what is being required for the Indianapolis metro region's enhanced public transportation and roadway plan. Of course, if the state funded transportation projects based on need then a referendum for either project shouldn't be needed.

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    1. So as I read this the one question that continues to come to me to ask is. Didn't Indiana only have a couple of exchanges for people to opt into which were very high because we really didn't want to expect the plan. So was this study done during that time and if so then I can understand these numbers. I also understand that we have now opened up for more options for hoosiers to choose from. Please correct if I'm wrong and if I'm not why was this not part of the story so that true overview could be taken away and not just parts of it to continue this negative tone against the ACA. I look forward to the clarity.

    2. It's really very simple. All forms of transportation are subsidized. All of them. Your tax money already goes toward every single form of transportation in the state. It is not a bad thing to put tax money toward mass transit. The state spends over 1,000,000,000 (yes billion) on roadway expansions and maintenance every single year. If you want to cry foul over anything cry foul over the overbuilding of highways which only serve people who can afford their own automobile.

    3. So instead of subsidizing a project with a market-driven scope, you suggest we subsidize a project that is way out of line with anything that can be economically sustainable just so we can have a better-looking skyline?

    4. Downtowner, if Cummins isn't getting expedited permitting and tax breaks to "do what they do", then I'd be happy with letting the market decide. But that isn't the case, is it?

    5. Patty, this commuter line provides a way for workers (willing to work lower wages) to get from Marion county to Hamilton county. These people are running your restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and retail stores. I don't see a lot of residents of Carmel working these jobs.

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