US 31 construction project in Carmel now underway

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) – Friday night marks the official beginning of a months-long Hamilton County road project. A portion of U.S. 31 in Carmel closed after rush hour Friday, and it’ll be closed until around Thanksgiving.

It’s all part of a big project to improve US 31 from Indianapolis to South Bend.

The official detour will send drivers to Keystone Parkway, but local streets like Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Old Meridian will be open as well.

Officials say this weekend, West Carmel Drive will be closed, but it and other cross-streets will be open the remainder of the construction period.

Business owners along the stretch say they’re staying optimistic – glad that those cross streets will be open so people can access them.

“These are flyers I have throughout the restaurant and I hand them to our customers,” said John Perazzo, owner of J. Razzo’s restaurant, along US 31 and West Carmel Drive.

Perazzo says he’s working as hard as he can to let customers know he’ll be open during construction.

“Meridian Street’s the main thoroughfare, and that’s being closed, so it’s worrisome. The rent’s still due, as the saying goes,” said Perazzo.

At Max & Erma’s nearby, it’s a similar, hopeful sentiment.

“We’re optimistic,” said Brandon George, Max & Erma’s manager.

He says, they are working hard too to let customers know they’ll still be there.

“When the keystone project was going on, a lot of business suffered from it,” George said.

Drivers will have to deal with detours now for six months.

“I’ll just take the back roads through Carmel I think to get there, because it’s a mad house out there right now,” said driver Gill Rudolph.

Here’s more detailed descriptions on access, from INDOT.

Click here for INDOT’s website on the closure, to see all information.

136th Street access:

Motorists will be able to cross U.S. 31 at 136th Street at all times during the closure, and access to St. Vincent Carmel will remain available. Motorists will be able to access 136th Street from southbound U.S. 31, and access will be available to northbound U.S. 31 from 136th Street.

126th Street/Carmel Drive access:

Cross traffic access on U.S. 31 will be available via 126th Street/Carmel Drive during the U.S. 31 closure through fall 2014. Crews must briefly close cross-traffic access on 126th Street/Carmel Drive at U.S. 31 during the first weekend of the closure. Contractors expect to restore cross-traffic access before Monday, April 7.

Old Meridian Street access:

Motorists will be able to access Old Meridian Street from northbound U.S. 31 through the duration of the U.S. 31 closure. Old Meridian Street will also have free-flowing access to southbound U.S. 31.

131st Street/Main Street access:

Cross traffic access at U.S. 31 and 131st Street/Main Street is currently closed for construction and will remain closed through fall 2014. In the fall, 131st Street/Main Street will open to cross traffic access on U.S. 31 while construction occurs on 126th Street/Carmel Drive. While motorists will be able to cross U.S. 31at this location beginning in the fall, direct access to northbound or southbound U.S. 31 will not be restored until U.S. 31 reopens before Thanksgiving.

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