Beginning of the end for construction along U.S. 31 in Hamilton County

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HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. (Dec. 16, 2015)-- INDOT contractors worked through the day Wednesday to prepare U.S. 31 for freeway-style traffic over 106th and 116th Streets. The new lane shifts are the beginning of the end of all the construction.

INDOT says the nearly five year and $350 million project is coming to a close.

“It’s been somewhat of a pain,” said Don Lowe.

INDOT’s giving drivers a Christmas gift. Some of that pain is about to go away.

Wednesday crews readied bridges to take U.S. 31 northbound traffic and get it off side ramps at 106th and 116th Streets. The roadway opened around 3 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, after a morning full of delays.

Workers will do the same Thursday for southbound traffic. INDOT is again cautioning that delays are possible.

“This traffic shift over the next two days is a major step toward meeting that goal,” said Nathan Riggs, with INDOT.

The goal is free-flowing, freeway-style traffic along U.S. 31 by the end of 2015. INDOT has two ramps from Interstate 465 to northbound U.S. 31 to finish too, but Riggs said they are confident they will.

“Certainly the weather has helped out,” he said, “Contractors have been very busy not just this month with the advantage of the warm temperatures but through the duration of this project.”

Not everyone is all smiles, though.

“We kind of lost a lot of customers,” said Jisook Song.

Song used to have prime real estate. But her restaurant, Mark Pi’s China Gate and Sushi Bar, is cut off from U.S. 31.

She said it’s been hurt by construction and the traffic shift, so much so that she and her husband had to cut staff. She hopes the new year will bring new fortune.

“We kind of prepared for the construction. We’ve been sitting on some cash,” she said.

INDOT said there is work to be done into 2016. Some of it includes roundabouts at 106th and 116th Streets, along with work underneath Interstate 465, where Meridian Street transitions into U.S. 31 at the Marion and Hamilton County line.

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