Hyperfix could speed completion of U.S. 31 Hamilton County project

It's the biggest road project ever attempted in Hamilton County, and when it's finished it will turn U.S. 31 into a freeway from Interstate 465 North to State Road 38.

Carmel, Ind.

It's the biggest road project ever attempted in Hamilton County, and when it's finished it will turn U.S. 31 into a freeway from Interstate 465 North to State Road 38.

In the meantime, it will be one of the biggest headaches drivers encounter.

"It's all about getting in and out," said Susan Lessig, who manages a business along U.S. 31.

Getting in and out anywhere along U.S. 31 in Hamilton County will no doubt be difficult in the next three years. As INDOT transforms U.S. 31 into a non-stop route north, it will be redesigning each intersection along the way.

Susan Lessig was less than thrilled to learn getting in and out of her business will soon require a longer, winding route off of U.S. 31. There are similar concerns from business owners and residents who live up and down the entire redesign. That’s why hundreds of people showed up to a special U.S. 31 open house and presentation Thursday night at the Carmel High School Freshman Center.

"We're just trying to understand what is happening to our area," Lessig said.

"We're hoping it's not too congested, too long during construction," said John Render, who lives in Carmel.

Residents at the meeting learned that INDOT plans to speed up completion of the project by three years thanks to a proposed Hyperfix, which calls for an extended closure of U.S. 31 between 116th and 136th Streets.

"We'd still maintain access for the businesses in the area, the hospitals as well,” said INDOT spokesperson Will Wingfield, “but it would allow us to get the work done a lot sooner because we're not maintaining tens of thousands of vehicles each day."

"That's going to be tough on us because that's exactly where we would enter,” said Sarah Drzemala, who lives in Carmel. “It's very close to my house so we're going to have a lot of traffic because we both have to go south."

The Hyperfix would take place in 2015, the final year of construction, and INDOT is still working on detour and traffic flow plans. Despite the added inconvenience, those we spoke to said they’d rather deal with the closure than another couple years of construction.

"I used to work construction so the faster the better," Drzemala said.

Even a certain business manager agrees.

"I'm all for Hyperfixes," Lessig said. "I hope they continue to do them. It moves the projects along much quicker and we get in and out."

More information on the U.S. 31 project and a detailed list of construction phases is available online.

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