By Chris Bavender
Two $20 million grants from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation will help fund upgrades on two sections of I-65, including a 6-mile stretch in Boone County. Work will include the addition of a travel lane in each direction.
Scott Manning, strategic communications director for the Indiana Dept. of Transportation, said Gov. Eric Holcomb has identified adding travel lanes to the state’s busiest interstate segments as a key priority for transportation infrastructure.
“Specifically, INDOT is focused on expanding I-65 and I-70 from border-to-border to accommodate those already busy freight corridors, plan for anticipated traffic growth and improve safety,” Manning said. “In addition to I-65 being a busy corridor for freight with about 30,000 trucks per day using the route, the interstate is very busy in the Boone County area with commuter traffic between Indianapolis and Zionsville/Whitestown and even as far north as Lafayette.”
Manning said the growth in commercial and retail development near Whitestown also is adding to the traffic volume on I-65.
“While I-65 between Whitestown and Lebanon is six lanes and able handle the heavy traffic volumes, the segment to the north is only four lanes and consistently experiences congestion,” he said.
The project will start 9 miles north of Whitestown at Exit 141 and continue north from there. Design work is expected to begin this year with the construction start date yet to be determined. The project will include adding a travel lane in each direction on I-65 from U.S. 52 to Ind. 47 and pavement rehabilitation of the existing lanes in both directions along that segment.
When the project is under way, commuters will see a reduced speed limit in the work zone, lane shifts and periodic lane closures during off-peak hours. When completed, Manning said drivers will benefit from the work.
“For commuters in the area who rely on the interstate, they will see benefits in decreased travel times and reduced risk of accidents that result from congestion and backups,” he said.