New U.S. 31 opens in Carmel

State and local officials opened the revamped U.S. 31 in Hamilton County on Monday morning.

The $350 million project included upgrading 13 miles of the road to interstate standards from Interstate 465 to State Road 38 with 49 new bridges and 12 new interchanges through Carmel and Westfield. Construction has been ongoing since 2011.

“Hamilton County has seen significant growth in recent years and ensuring our infrastructure keeps pace with this part of the state is essential,” Gov. Mike Pence said in a prepared statement.

The bridges traveling over 106th and 116th streets in Carmel opened to northbound and southbound traffic on U.S. 31 last week. All ramps at the I-465 and U.S. 31 interchange are expected to be finished next week.

“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,” Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said in a prepared statement.

The Hamilton County project was part of a $1.2 billion reconstruction project for U.S. 31 linking Indianapolis and South Bend. More than 32 traffic signals have been removed from U.S. 31 from Kokomo to South Bend, which is saving drivers 30 minutes of travel time, according to the Indiana Department of Transportation.

Construction on the Westfield portion of the freeway was completed in October.

“Upgrading U.S. 31 to freeway standards has helped open the door for Westfield to compete for national economic development projects,” Westfield Mayor Andy Cook said in a prepared statement. “The U.S. 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.”

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