US 31 construction underway - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

US 31 construction underway


Posted by Dave Schroeder

US 31 between South Bend and Indianapolis is officially getting its long-anticipated facelift.

INDOT officials held an informational open house Tuesday in South Bend. Team members and engineers were on hand.

Construction teams have already begun to move dirt just east of Lakeville.

Between South Bend and Plymouth, there will be four new interchanges before its all said and done.

Indiana's Department of Transportation says when the project is finished, drive time between South Bend and Indianapolis should be cut by 30 minutes.

"We wanted limited access, to have it to be more of a freeway, so we can have better mobility and also offer a safer road for people to travel on," said INDOT's Angie Fegeras.

The long awaited project will provide safety and efficiency, but it has also caused headaches for property owners. 470 total properties will be affected by the US 31 corridor shift.

The real question is when these owners will have to move. With no definitive answer as of yet, several residents were on a fact-finding mission Tuesday, trying to connect the dots.

South Bend's Rick Suski said, "They're still not pinpointing any information for us. It' still all, I guess like one gentleman said, 'wishy washy.'"

Property owners did learn that the planned route is much more than a rough draft.  Fegeras said, "For the most part, what people can come and look at tonight, this is the route we're going with."

Like Suski in South Bend, Plymouth's Pam Fisher will have to move too.

"Well I think it's a good thing that the highway's going through, but we've been sitting here waiting and waiting, and not knowing when they're going to take my property," Fisher said.

Suski has already made plans to relocate in South Bend.

With the closing on his new property set for July 30th, he will have to endure some economic hardship until the state buys his house along the US 31 route.  Suski learned on Tuesday that the state purchases properties on an annual budget system, and typically makes those acquisitions as construction approaches the area in question. The section that affects him is scheduled for 2013.

"It will be quite the strain on us, but I don't want us to be in that dilemma of having to rush around and try to find a place," Suski said.

And with the state's annual budget for advanced purchases already depleted, Suski will most likely have to wait until early next year.

For a full list of project details and a timeline for construction, you can visit:

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