What is the timeline for each stretch/phase?

Complete

  • Plymouth-Goshen Trail over US 31
  • 6th/Lilac Road over US 31
  • Lilac/Tyler Road over New US 31
  • Miller Road over New US 31
  • Grading contract for New US 31 between US 6 and SR 4
  • Kenilworth Road over New US 31
  • New Road over New US 31
  • Lake Trail over New US 31
  • East 1st Road over New US 31
  • LaPorte wetland mitigation
  • Elkhart wetland mitigation
  • New US 31 bridges over Shidler-Hoffman Ditch, Shively Ditch and Magnum Arm Ditch
  • Heston Ditch over US 31
  • US 31 from SR 4 to just south of Kern Road
  • New US 31 over existing US 31
  • New US 31 bridge over Roosevelt Road
  • New US 31 from Roosevelt to just south of Kern Road
  • SR 4 interchange

Under Construction in 2014

  • New US 31 paving from 1B Road to SR 4
  • New US 31 from US 6 to 4A Road (Marshall County)
  • US 6 interchange
  • Jackson over US 31
  • Fellows over US 20
  • New US 31 from Kern Road to Dice Street
  • Kern Road interchange
  • Johnson over US 31
  • Existing US 31 from US 30 to New US 31
  • Existing US 31 from Dice Street to US 20
  • 7th Road interchange

Who will coordinate access during construction – the state, county, township or city? Are all the players on the same page?

INDOT will coordinate all of the projects identified in the ROD. While outside of INDOT’s scope of work on this project, if there are projects that will be undertaken by local municipalities in the area, the project team will work with the responsible agency to ensure efficient and accurate preparation, as requested.

How is this project going to affect me during construction and after completion?

Traffic patterns will be changed temporarily during construction and, in some cases, after construction is completed. Each contract will have unique impacts during construction. For information regarding permanent road closures and over/underpasses along the corridor, click here: 2011bridges2.pdf

Will noise walls be installed during construction?

No. As design was nearing completion, consultants did a thorough noise study based on INDOT’s noise policy, which was updated in June 2011. While the study revealed a noise barrier would be feasible, it did not meet the minimum standards to be considered reasonable. For more details, click here. To review the study, click here.

Why is this project needed?

The Indiana General Assembly directed the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to study the transportation corridor between Indianapolis and South Bend. Currently, INDOT has opened US 31 through Kokomo, and is developing the sections of the corridor in Hamilton County, and Marshall and St. Joseph counties.

Based on traffic counts from 2000, significant congestion exists along US 31 through La Paz and from Lakeville to the US 20 Bypass. The Level of Service (LOS) – the level at which a roadway allows the flow of vehicles – falls below “C” for rural areas and “D” for urban areas. (LOS is rated by grades, with A representing the least amount of congestion and F representing the most. LOS C and D are the lowest accepted levels for rural and urban environments, respectively.) In addition, three of four signalized intersections and three of six non-signalized intersections operate at an unacceptable LOS. By 2030, without the proposed improvements, nearly all intersections would operate at an unacceptable LOS.

Further, upgrading US 31 to freeway standards will greatly improve the safety of the corridor – reducing the number of crashes and rear-end collisions caused through turning movements and increased traffic – especially between Lakeville and South Bend.

How will the money for the upgrades be funded?

Projects such as this are funded through federal and state transportation dollars.

Where will interchanges be? Which county roads will have over/underpasses?

Interchanges will be located at 7th Road, US 6, SR 4 and Kern Road. For details on how local roads will intersect with the New US 31, click here: 2011bridges2.pdf

What happens to the existing US 31?

Old US 31 in Marshall County and LaPaz and in the city of South Bend will become a local road.

INDOT was not able to negotiate a relinquishment agreement with St. Joseph County or Lakeville. Therefore, the section of Old US 31 from just north of LaPaz to Kern Road will remain under INDOT’s jurisdiction.

Are a lot of the existing roads going to become dead-ends when the freeway is built?

Bridges will be constructed to allow the free flow of traffic over or under the new US 31 alignment for many existing roadways. For all other roadways, they will be reconstructed as cul-de-sacs or relocated.

Will emergency responders be able to appropriately and timely respond to all sections of the route?

Throughout the study, design and construction, INDOT will work closely with local emergency responders to ensure a local access plan is in place to accommodate emergency vehicles.

How much safer will this project make the route? Will fewer accidents occur?

The accident rate for a freeway is lower than that for a non-freeway facility, such as the existing US 31 corridor. By diverting traffic onto the new US 31 freeway, there will be a decline in the number of crashes in the corridor.

What accommodations will be made for bicyclists, pedestrians or mass transit alternatives?

Bicyclists and pedestrians are prohibited from traveling on limited access roadways; however, shoulders on both sides of roads intersecting the freeway will be wide enough to accommodate bicycle and pedestrian access.

How will people between Kern and Roosevelt get into the city?

That depends on the destination and/or preferred route; going to the new Kern Road interchange and heading north is one option that should provide the quickest access to Ireland Road, but it is possible that motorists will choose to use the existing Kern Road connection between US 31 and Miami Road.

What will be done to improve local streets affected by this?

There will be a new connections across US 20/US 31 to facilitate local connectivity and emergency services' access to the neighborhoods located directly south of US 20. Those connections are at Fellows Street and Jackson Road.

In other areas, there will be minor re-alignment of existing local streets. such as Main street north of Kern Road or at the west end of the new Johnson Road overpass at the existing grade. Old US 31 north of Kern Road will be reconstructed to resemble a city street.

What will the speed limit be?

The freeway is being designed per federal and INDOT standards as a limited access highway. The speed limit is anticipated to be 65 miles per hour.

How will this affect wetlands?

The selected alternative has the lowest environmental impacts to wetlands and forests. Wetland mitigation is estimated to be approximately 110 acres. Wetland mitigation ratios range from 2:1 to 4:1 depending on the type of wetland impacted, and will be determined at the final design and permitting stage.

What is the timeline for the entire north stretch of US 31 from Indianapolis to South Bend?

INDOT’s Long Range Transportation Plan includes projects 25 years in the future. The US 31 segment through Howard County opened in 2013. The sections through Hamilton County, and Marshall and St. Joseph counties will be completed before or by 2015. Other segments will be determined as the Long Range Plan is updated.

Where can I find more information about the other projects on US 31 between Indianapolis and South Bend?

US 31 through Hamilton County is also under construction. For information about those projects, visit www.us31hamiltoncounty.in.gov.

What is the predicted economic impact on small towns such as Lakeville and La Paz?

A business needs survey was sent to local businesses that were potentially affected by the project. According to those surveys, 65 percent would relocate their businesses as close as possible to their exiting site, 15 percent would relocate away from the immediate area, 12 percent would terminate their business and 8 percent were unsure of their course of action. In addition to the 80 percent who would remain open, investing in infrastructure regularly increases the amount of businesses investing in an area.

I represent a group/organization and have questions regarding the project. Can the US 31 project team speak to my group?

Yes. The US 31 project team is happy to meet with or speak to any group/organization at any time. Please feel free to contact Erin Pipkin or LaPorte Communications Director Jim Pinkerton for more information.

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