This map of Clinton County identifies the projects INDOT plans to complete over the next five years. The five-year impact is projected to include 221 lane miles resurfaced and five bridges rehabbed or replaced. The state’s outlay for the local improvements is estimated at $65,895,281. Graphic by INDOT NEXT LEVEL
Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb took road trips to Terre Haute and West Lafayette Thursday to announce personally the state’s new Next Level Roads initiative funded with the General Assembly’s additional 10 cents per gallon gas tax and a hike in BMW fees, among others.
Dave Bangert, a columnist with the Journal & Courier, recently mused how much impact the closing of I-65 in the summer of 2015 for five weeks had to do with the new plan and Holcomb’s stop in West Lafayette as one place for his stump speech.
The I-65 detour, due to a collapsing bridge, was a huge inconvenience to Clinton County commuters and commercial transporters as well as for anyone trying to travel north and south through central Indiana.
INDOT has laid out a five year plan for the first quarter of a new 20-year program to improve Indiana’s roads and bridges. The goal is to create a sustainable funding source for keeping Hoosier motorists and countrywide commerce moving safely throughout the state.
According to the Next Level web site, Clinton County is budgeted for about 28 projects over the next five years at a total cost of $65,895,281. The schedule of improvements includes 221 lane miles of roadways to be resurfaced, along with five bridges to be rehabilitated or replaced.
If you take a quick look at the list, the number of projects seems much greater, but some are listed twice, one for the northbound lane over a bridge, and a second for the southbound lane.
The two most expensive projects are in 2020, when the plan is to rehabilitate State Road 26 from just east of U.S. 421 almost to State Road 75, for $5.1 million, and then on to State Road 29, for another $10.4 million. The road is to be improved to 3R/4R standards, a federal designation.
A bridge on I-65 in Clinton County, just .33 miles north of State Road 28, is labeled to be removed in 2019 at a total estimated cost of $2.2 million, according to the INDOT project list. The bridge passes over an abandoned rail line, according to County Council President Alan Dunn, and will be less expensive for the state to maintain if the gap between the bridge and the land below is filled in.
However, it’s long been the hope of county, city and Frankfort utility officials to expand the city’s infrastructure west all the way to I-65 and possibly beyond. According to Dunn, an optimum path for that progress would be that old railroad line, so that’s one project INDOT may be asked to hold off on
The road construction plan for the first five years of Indiana’s Next Level Roads initiative outlines specific INDOT projects that will preserve existing roads and bridges, finish current projects and invest in Indiana’s overall transportation system. The plan outlines approximately $4.7 billionin total investment over the next five years—resurfacing nearly 10,000 lane miles of pavement and repairing or replacing approximately 1,300 bridges.
Beyond this initial, five-year investment in state (INDOT) projects, the Next Level Roads initiative provides an additional $342 million annually to support Indiana cities, towns and counties for local road projects by 2024.