INDIANAPOLIS — Improvements are coming to two major Central Indiana roadways after the U.S. Department of Transportation approved applications from the Indiana Department of Transportation and awarded $27.5 million for the projects.
Through the Better Utilitizing Investments to Leverage Development Transportation Discretionary (B.U.I.L.D.) Grants program, Indianapolis will receive $22.5 million for the I-70 Rehabilitation and Modernization Project and Avon was awarded $5 million for the U.S. 36 Safety and Capacity Project, USDOT announced Wednesday.
The I-70 project will widen the roadway from two to three lanes in each direction from Mt. Comfort Road to State Road 9. The project will also include pavement repairs and reconfigure the eastbound lane drop and westbound lane add at Mt. Comfort Road.
In Avon, a project will improve approximately 1.2 miles of U.S. 36, add an additional lane in each direction, replace the two-way left turning lane with a raised/curbed median, implement access control, improve sidewalks and modernize intersections with traffic signals.
To qualify for B.U.I.L.D. Grants money, the Indiana Department of Transportation submitted applications for both projects. U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administrator Nicole Nason told WRTV there were more than 650 applicants and about 70 winners.
Nason said INDOT had a "comprehensive application."
"In both applications they stressed the importance of safety, how widening the lanes on I-70 will improve safety, will improve travel times. They stressed freight capacity, how it will be better for truck movement and the efficient flow of goods," Nason said. "They stressed safety to traveling public but also those on the sides of the roads. They are improving sidewalks, expanding the median, they really had a comprehensive application.
Nason said a factor in INDOT's favor was that it is ready to spend the money.
"As soon as we can give them that money, they would like to start these projects," Nason said.