HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. — A congested part of I-70 is getting an expansion that will hopefully calm traffic and reduce accidents.

“As many people know, there are a lot of congestion issues on I-70, and a lot of semi traffic,” said Mallory Duncan, Indianapolis Department of Transportation (INDOT) strategic communications director. “Because of all the traffic, and because of all the semi traffic, obviously we have had numerous crashes out here.”

INDOT is beginning the construction on I-70 between County Road 700 to Sugar Creek. The first section from CR 700 to State Road 9 is expected to be complete in a year. Crews will be adding an additional lane to the highway.

“This lane will gave space to get people to move, to get around people, and help our first responders if there is an accident in the future,” said Duncan.

Companies on the west side of Hancock County have been expanding warehouse and facility operations. Hancock County 911 says it has led to a major increase in semi truck traffic. The highway is expected to remain open during construction, but there will be traffic and ramp closures.

“We are going to maintain two lanes in both directions in a cross over pattern,” detailed Duncan. “All traffic will go on one side of the interstate while we work on the other side.”

Last year Hancock County 911 launched a text system for traffic alerts. You can sign up by texting the phrase “i70HANCOCK” to “226787.”

“We send out messages anytime there is a crash, a stalled vehicle, any type of delays or backups, so you can go home or to work quickly and safely,” explained Greg Duda, Hancock County 911 public information officer. “We had over 2000 people sign up last year, which we thought were very good numbers.”

The function will help drivers navigate through construction this summer.

“The biggest thing we see is people not paying attention to vehicles slowing down in front of them. When people aren’t paying attention in construction zones, they can hit someone in front of them,” added Duda.