Opening set for new West Lafayette bypass

Motorists are just a few days away from being able to drive on the state's new bypass around West Lafayette.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Friday to formally open the U.S. 231 bypass that was in the planning stages for years before work began in 2011.

The four-lane roadway cost $45 million and follows a 5.3-mile route around the south and west sides of the city. It is expected to divert some traffic that now follows state highway routes through the Purdue University campus, improving safety for pedestrians and bicyclists on the 39,000-student campus.

West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis told Journal & Courier he isn't fazed by the opening ceremony being held on Sept. 13.

"For the city of West Lafayette, Friday the 13th is going to turn into one of the luckiest days in our history," Dennis said. "Very rarely does a community have the opportunity that the new (U.S.) 231 brings us."

Dennis said the bypass creates a scenic gateway into the city and opens up five miles of road, which brings opportunities for economic development.

The Indiana Department of Transportation and West Lafayette have a preliminary agreement under which the city will assume oversight and maintenance of the former state highways inside city limits happen about Nov. 1, said Debbie Calder, a spokeswoman for the state agency.

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