Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

April 20, 2011

U.S. 31 Kokomo Corridor on target for 2013 opening

Kokomo — The best way to see what’s been accomplished on the U.S. 31 Kokomo Corridor thus far is to travel out East Boulevard. The diamond interchange, which was so much dirt being moved about last summer, is nearly complete, as is the mainline roadway from about half a mile north of Boulevard south 2 miles to the Kokomo Creek.

Kokomo police even recently had to deal with a motorist attempting to try out the new roadway.

Despite the “Road Closed” signs and construction cones, the Corvette driver went off the Boulevard interchange south to the Kokomo Creek and then north to where the pavement ended.

Unfortunately, he either didn’t see the end of the roadwork or misjudged it, because his shiny ’Vette ended up totaled. The driver came out nearly unscathed.

Indiana Department of Transportation spokesman Harry McGinity said the project, expected originally to cost about $340 million, has been going so well that the project is likely to beat its budget “by a considerable amount.”

Engineers recently had a meeting on Contract 3, which includes the Ind. 26 interchange, McGinity said.

“There was a lot of hand-shaking going on. The whole project is just coming along really well,” he said.

About the only glitch, apart from the Corvette, has been the discovery, by state inspectors, that the deck of the Carter Street bridge (50 North) was “underdesigned” and won’t bear up under repeated heavy weight loads.

The insurance company of the Indianapolis engineering firm that designed the bridge deck is expected to pay the $1 million cost of replacement, McGinity said. The bridge, which opened more than a year ago, will soon be closed again for the repairs.

In all, the 13-mile corridor project is split up into 10 separate contracts, each individually designed and put out for bid.

Of those contracts, two are completed: the bridges at Carter Street and Southway Boulevard. Both roadways will travel over the new bypass.

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