After roughly two-and-a-half years of construction work, the new stretch of U.S. 231 in Tippecanoe County is complete. The Indiana Department of Transportation expects it to open for traffic at 6 p.m. Friday. Officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday morning.
Purdue President Mitch Daniels, who helped initiated the project when he was governor, says besides better a better traffic pattern, it will save lives.
“It’s going to make a very material difference to safety, first on the roadways, but also right around the campus,” he says. “Literally, lives will be saved because of this. We’ll never know how many. We’ll never know who.”
The road work cost $46 million dollars and was part of the Major Moves transportation campaign Daniels launched with funding from the lease of the Indiana Toll Road. It brings U.S. 231 through the southern part of the Purdue campus and west of the main campus.
West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis says the new corridor offers another gateway into Purdue and will allow for smart growth.
“The area on it is within the Purdue Research Park and the City of West Lafayette, should annexation conclude positively,” he says. “And we’re in a position then to incentivize development.”
Dennis says possible incentives include city funding through new tax revenue and offering tax abatements.
The 5.3 mile stretch of U.S. 231 will have traffic signals at six intersections, including South River Road, Airport Road and Lindberg Road. Eventually, the extension of Cumberland Avenue will intersect it as well.