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Plans announced to widen the heavily-traveled I-65

Governor Mike Pence wants to widen Interstate 65 in Lake County to three lanes in each direction from Merrillville south to at least State Road 2 (Exit 240) near Lowell.

Governor Mike Pence announced recently plans to widen Interstate 65 in Lake County to three lanes in each direction from Merrillville south to at least State Road 2 (Exit 240) near Lowell. This project is part of Governor Pence’s Major Moves 2020 highway program, which is fast tracking the widening and rehabilitation of heavily-traveled highways across the state.

“As Governor, I’ve set out to ensure that Indiana remains the Crossroads of America, and today’s announcement to expand Interstate 65 is another positive step in our efforts to ensure that our transportation infrastructure can support the economic and employment growth our state has seen over the last decade,” said Governor Pence. “Hoosiers can rest assured that my administration will continue to prioritize our roads and bridges in a responsible and aggressive manner.”

The budget for this plan is $70 million. Funding would come from the Major Moves 2020 program, which was increased in the most recent biennial budget. On December 17, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) will seek State Budget Committee approval to use the funds and publish an initial request for contractor and designer qualifications.

“Job creation and economic growth depend on our State’s willingness to invest in key infrastr-ucture improvements,” INDOT Commissioner Brandye Hendrickson said. “Governor Pence’s vision with Major Moves 2020 is to enable INDOT to move proactively in investing in projects that will strengthen Indiana’s competitiveness now and in the future.”

Other Major Moves 2020 contracts have already been awarded. In late October, crews opened new I-65 lanes on a four-mile contract between Southport and Greenwood. Additional construction continues on a separate, nine-mile contract between Greenwood and Franklin and construction is underway to widen and rehabilitate seven miles of I-65 near Lafayette and another seven miles of I-65 in Clark County.

Since taking office in 2013, Governor Pence and the General Assembly have budgeted $1.26 billion in additional state funds for transportation. The 2014 legislative session provided the initial $400 million, and the current two-year state budget added $200 million to the Major Moves 2020 program.

In October, Governor Pence announced his 21st Century Crossroads proposal, a plan that would make $1 billion in new road funding available over the next four years without raising taxes. 21st Century Crossroads would put INDOT on a path to resurface 16,000 miles of state highways and repair more than 5,200 bridges over the next 15 years.

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