By Maria Cook
Hamilton County’s last stoplight along U.S. 31 on the route to Kokomo is expected to disappear within the next few years. INDOT has announced plans to reconstruct the intersection of U.S. 31 and 236th Street in northern Hamilton County into an interchange.
Hamilton County Highway Dept. Director Brad Davis said the county shares INDOT’s goal of eliminating stoplights and improving traffic flow on U.S. 31.
“The big goal of INDOT is to create a freeway system on U.S. 31 and to eliminate traffic signals on that roadway,” Davis said. “We’ve wanted to have an interchange there for quite some time, so we are in favor of it and are providing any input we can to help.”
Davis said the new interchange will serve two main purposes: Improving traffic and making drivers safer.
“One of the major issues is a safety issue. There’s been an awful lot of accidents at that location, so that’s one of the primary goals they’re trying to solve,” he said. “By doing an interchange, they’re actually splitting the traffic, so you’re going to eliminate that intersection conflict there. And, of course, an interchange is going to work a lot more efficiently at moving traffic than a traffic light.”
INDOT has not announced a starting date for the project, but construction is expected to begin in 2021 or 2022. According to INDOT’s website, public feedback will help determine what specific type of interchange INDOT will install. Public hearings are expected to take place before the project begins.