Police urge drivers to use caution in US 31 construction zones after reopening

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CARMEL, Ind. (November 26, 2014) - Drivers and businesses in Hamilton County are thrilled with Tuesday's reopening of US 31 between Old Meridian and 136th Street, but police are urging people to slow down and use caution as crews continue to work in the area.

Hamilton County Sheriff's Deputies and Indiana State Police Troopers stopped 138 vehicles along US 31 in just four hours Wednesday, issuing 111 tickets and 69 citations. The vast majority of those citations were for speeding.

“It’s not about tickets or generating revenue," says ISP Senior Trooper John Perrine. "It’s about making sure that people are able to get to their destinations safely.”

Nathan Riggs with the Indiana Department of Transportation says people need to remember that speed limits have been lowered to 40 or 45 miles per hour for much of US 31. He says speed limits can be reduced even further during the overnight hours when crews are working.

“It is open to traffic, two lanes in both directions, but the construction will continue," says Riggs. "This project is ongoing until the end of next year. So while drivers are enjoying the new open lanes, they should still be aware that work is ongoing and will continue until the end of 2015.”

Riggs says there are shifts in traffic patterns, narrowed lanes and various other changes to normal traffic flow, so the speed limits are in place for the safety of workers and drivers.

Perrine says that was the main focus of law enforcement's presence along US 31 Tuesday.

“We just want everybody to be able to spend the holidays with their families and make it safely from point A to point B," says Perrine. "We want the workers out here to be able to make it home and the people out here driving. We want to make sure everything stays safe for them as well.”

Drivers are also urged to remember Indiana's Move Over Law. When a member of law enforcement is pulled over on the shoulder of a multi-lane road, drivers are legally required to move from the lane closest to the officer. If they are unable to switch to another lane, giving the officer more space to safely walk, drivers must reduce their speed significantly.

On Tuesday, some drivers also complained about signs along US 31, saying they were unclear or confusing, but Riggs says drivers need to be aware of changes that might take place from day to day.

“It’s not in its final configuration. Whenever we have these transitions, there are things that we need to do that might not be in place when we open up the roadway; getting signage, making improvements, things maybe we didn’t see before we opened up the roadway. Things will be adjusted over the next few days, maybe couple of weeks, to try to make it easier for motorists with the new configurations."

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