Indiana’s big road fix to attract contractors, bring new jobs

Gov. Holcomb on July 17, 2017, meets Indiana Department of Transportation workers in Goshen, Indiana, and reminds motorists to be safe and mindful while driving through construction zones. (Provided Photo/Caroline A. McKinney, Governor's Office)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As Indiana gets ready to spend billions to fix its roads and bridges, construction companies are busy getting ready.

On Monday, Gov. Eric Holcomb wrapped a seven-city tour showcasing his new road plan called Next Level Indiana. The $4.7 billion initiative will add 122 miles of lanes, fix nearly 1,300 bridges and resurface almost 10,000 miles of roads.

Indiana Department of Transportation said last week it has the staff in place to handle the workload, but construction companies are trying to get there.

“We need laborers, we need Teamsters, those groups of people. On top of that, we’ll need construction managers, project managers,” said Gene Lindley, chief operating officer of James H. Drew Corp.

A good problem to have, employees of the Indianapolis company said. Right now, they have crews working on projects, including a site on Michigan Avenue in downtown Indianapolis.

The company is expecting a lot more work with the governor’s initiative.

“Our challenge is going to be looking for individuals to come in and fill those voids that we currently have, as well as we will have in the future,” Lindley said.

They may need to hire now to handle all these projects, but industry experts said there’s time because a lot of the spending takes place in the final part of the initiative, which will allow employers to hire and train.

“We are anticipating by the time this entire project ramps, over the next three to five years, we’re looking at thousands of new jobs for Hoosiers across the state,” said Richard Hedgecock.

He’s the president of Indiana Constructors Inc., which bills itself as the voice of the highway, heavy and utility construction industry in Indiana. Hedgecock works with more than 200 companies across the state. Businesses he said are looking to hire.

“There are highway contractors located all across the state. From Gary, to Sellersburg, from Evansville to Fort Wayne,” Hedgecock said.

A road plan that could fix your pesky pothole, and get you paid while doing it. “It’s an exciting time for construction,” Lindley said.

Construction experts said if you’re interested in a job, you should apply now. You can make a career out of it.

The governor’s plan covers five years, but they expect work to continue for several years after it. It also pays well above minimum wage, with entry-level jobs with some companies paying more than $20 an hour.

The jobs also require little experience and education. Employers said they are willing to hire and train and new staff.

Never miss another Facebook post from WISH-TV