State transportation officials Monday have broken ground on $61 million worth of pavement work in southeast Indiana. The construction on I-74 in Decatur, Franklin and Ripley counties is part of the state’s long-term, $30 billion Next Level road and bridge improvement effort.

Crews will be rebuilding I-74 in stages over the next two-and-a-half years. In addition to full-depth pavement replacement, the work involves new bridge superstructures over Little Laughery Creek and Western Creek, patching, shoulder-straightening and widening between the New Point and State Road 101 interchanges. The initial round of construction involves some preparations for future traffic shifts.

Milestone Contractors LP, which has offices in Indianapolis, Lafayette, Columbus, Richmond, Bloomington and Portland, is the primary contractor on the I-74 project.

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