With a start time now in place, the director of infrastructure for the company operating the Indiana Toll Road says he knows a lot of eyes will be focused on the $200 million overhaul of 73 miles of the highway. ITR Concession Co.’s Zach Hurst says the project crams 15-20 years’ worth of capital expenditure into a two-year period. Construction will begin April 4th and involve repaving, plaza upgrades, overpass renovations and safety improvements.
The project’s nickname is the 80/90 PUSH, which stands for Pavement Upgrade for a Superior Highway. Goshen-based Rieth-Riley Construction Co., who originally built the road more than 60 years ago, will lead the development.
ITRCC says, in the long-term, the investment will reduce the amount of future maintenance, improve travel conditions and lower vehicle operating costs, install improved technology and displays to boost safety. The work is expected to create 400 construction jobs and generate an $800 million in economic activity. In all, 53 bridges will be redone. A high-tech feature of the project is the installation of fiber optic lines, which will be capable of transporting data for future Intelligent Transportation Systems that will assist in identification and response to roadway conditions and help provide real-time traffic information.
"We want to be the economic development partner for all the municipalities along the toll road. We want to help them achieve whatever their goals are," Hurst says. He calls the toll road a vital link among, local, national and international commerce. "You think about the RV industry in Elkhart, the steel mills in northwest Indiana, we’ve got a little bit of everything. You’ve got the tourism coming from state line to state line. We’re very excited about this opportunity. We know it’s a massive challenge and we know a lot of people are watching. We’re very intent on delivering a high-quality, safe project."
The edge-to-edge improvements could be complete in December 2017.
ITR Concession Co. Director of Infrastructure Zach Hurst says “to call this an accelerated schedule is a massive understatement.”