U.S. 31 work will close highway in Carmel

(WISH Photo/Jay Hermacinski)

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — Construction headaches are on the way as the Indiana Department of Transportation plans to close a section of U.S. 31 in Hamilton County.

Starting April 4, INDOT is closing U.S. 31 from Old Meridian Street on the south to 136th Street on the north. One mile north and one mile south of the construction zone will be limited to one lane of traffic in each direction.

The section of highway is expected to remain closed until Thanksgiving.

“I would imagine it is going to be pretty congested. People are going to have trouble going back and forth, I would imagine. I don’t really know a good way to go around it,” said Tim Forsythe, a construction worker with Gradex.

Drivers had mixed reaction to the news of the closure. Most have gotten used to construction along U.S. 31.

“I’m kind of excited for what it is going to be. It’s going to be an inconvenience but we are kind of getting used to it around here and they’ve done a good job of it so far,” said Carmel resident Joy Hine.

“I just think the time frame was a little ridiculous because I think they said November, and I think they can move a little faster in the summer,” said Carmel resident Kitty Markusfeld.

St. Vincent Carmel Hospital is one of the local businesses that will be affected by the construction zone. Administrators are putting together a plan to deal with emergency runs and notifying patients of alternate routes to the hospital.

“We have worked closely with Carmel EMS and Westfield and some other districts.  Their concern as well as ours is in an emergency, how do you get to the hospital?” said Dan LaReau, St. Vincent Carmel Hospital executive director of operations and information. “That conversation continues, and we will figure out more specifics in the next 30 days.”

The official detour route for the construction zone will be Keystone Parkway. Pennsylvania and Illinois streets will serve as alternate routes for local access.

INDOT says there are several benefits to closing U.S. 31 rather than allowing limited travel through the area.

Benefits include:

  • A shortened closure duration to approximately eight months, compared to approximately ten months if the closure were to happen in 2015
  • Improved work zone safety while elevation changes are made for new bridges at 126th Street/Carmel Drive, 131st Street/Main Street and 136th Street
  • The removal of traffic signals from eight miles of U.S. 31 by December 2014
  • Allows INDOT to fulfill its commitment to open the U.S. 31 freeway to traffic by December 2015

INDOT is holding a number of meetings to discuss the project with the public. They are:

  • March 18 – Carmel High School, freshman cafeteria 5:30 to 8 p.m., presentation at 6 p.m.
  • March 19 – Westfield Middle School, cafeteria 5:30 to 8 p.m., presentation at 6 p.m.

You can also:

  • Attend a business representative meeting on Thursday at Carmel Clay Public Library for a presentation about the closure. Presentation times are 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., noon to 2 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m.
  • Subscribe to the project’s text messaging service (text ROADS to 411247 to subscribe; standard texting rates apply)
  • Follow the conversation on INDOT’s Facebook and Twitter pages with #US31Closure

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