INDOT stands by goal of getting US 31 open before Thanksgiving

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CARMEL, Ind. - The frigid weather is doing nothing to help ease the headache that is the US 31 construction project in Hamilton County.

INDOT is up against a big deadline to finish a chunk of the road work by Thanksgiving. The clock is ticking, and the weather doesn't appear to be cooperating.

Construction orange is a common sight in Carmel.

"It's been difficult to navigate the streets," said Jennifer Coymerheine.

It's a common frustration for drivers.

"It's just been a huge inconvenience, we can't get through," said Lon Carpenter.

In April, INDOT closed US 31 to through traffic from Old Meridian to 136th Street, part of a big redesign with a finish date of 2015.

Now, they are on the heels of a major deadline, and despite weather delays, INDOT said they'll make it.

"The forecasts don't look great, but we do see windows of opportunity, and we believe we'll be able to get the work done on time," said Nathan Riggs, with INDOT, "We will stand by that commitment that we will have US 31 open to traffic by Thanksgiving."

Riggs acknowledges there is work to be done.

"We have had some bad forecasts, some bad weather recently," he said.

He said paving and striping are left, both jobs that are not cold or rain friendly.

But when crews roll away the barrels, for now, there will be two lanes northbound and two lanes southbound. New roundabouts and ramps will be ready to go, too.

"I'm hopeful but doubtful," said Lon Carpenter.

Drivers are guarded about the opening yet optimistic.

"I'm hopeful. Who knows though, it's cold, there's been snow, the rain," said Shauna Mulligan, who works in Carmel.

INDOT said they are trying to come through.

"There's always going to be the possibility for delays. We can't predict the weather, but we remain confident we'll be able to meet this deadline and have US 31 open to traffic before Thanksgiving," said Riggs.

The I-465 and I-65 connector project on the south side is nearing completion. INDOT said it will be finished at the end of this year.

And more traffic news for drivers, INDOT will be doing some pothole patching in the coming days on I-65 in Johnson County. They're advising that there will be delays from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

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