Transportation and Infrastructure

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

The casual rider of the Hoosier State Line probably didn’t expect any changes on July 1 as an Amtrak-branded engine and set of cars rolled through Lafayette on its way to Chicago.

But instead of the red, blue and gray Amtrak paint job, passengers were supposed to see the brown and orange paint job of Iowa Pacific rolling stock.

Andy Castro / https://www.flickr.com/photos/andycastro/2548898515

The speed limit on most interstate highways in Indiana is 70 miles per hour, but that number will soon vary in at least one location.

That’s because the Indiana Department of Transportation is experimenting with using electronic signs to vary speed limits based on traffic patterns or the incidence of road work.

The first signs will go up on I-65 between Edinburgh and Franklin, where road crews are currently patching and resurfacing the roadway.

INDOT spokesman Harry Maginity says speed limits there will be adjusted based on how well traffic is moving.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Indiana Department of Transportation officials say they don’t know when the Hoosier State Amtrak line will transition to operation by Iowa Pacific, but they do know it won’t be this week.

INDOT and Iowa Pacific officials had been working to make the switch on July first, but contracts between the state, the company and the cities served by the line haven’t been finalized yet.

Senate Finance Committee

In 2005, Mitch Daniels brokered the Major Moves deal -- leasing the Indiana toll-road for $3.8 billion for 75 years.  He told a Senate committee looking for infrastructure improvement ideas Thursday the public-private partnership was a high point of his term.

"It was a great joy of public service to watch literally the dreams of decades, become real.  Project after project of people saying 'that’ll never happen' are in being in Indiana," Daniels said.

John Romero / https://www.flickr.com/photos/romerospics/16982939275

The P-47 Thunderbolt is clear for takeoff as Indiana’s new official state aircraft. Legislators unanimously voted during this year’s session to honor the only World War II aircraft manufactured in Indiana -- a decision that goes into effect next week.

Retired Brigadier General Stewart Goodwin, executive director of the Indiana War Memorials Commission, says Thunderbolts were popular because of their versatility.

"This was an aircraft that was built to be rugged, to carry a lot of weight, yet it also had the speed to be an escort," Goodwin says. 

Illiana Expressway Hits New Roadblock

Jun 18, 2015
Kyle May / https://www.flickr.com/photos/kylemay/

A Chicago federal judge has halted plans for the proposed Illiana Expressway. He blocked construction on the highway that would link northwest Indiana with suburban Chicago, citing a misleading environmental impact statement from the Federal Highway Administration. The study’s population projections depended on the assumption the highway would be built.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/photosbystan/

The attorney leading a class-action suit over BMV overcharges says Governor Pence should take a hand in settling the case.

A Marion County judge this week refused to throw out the suit, which seeks repayment of up to $40 million in overcharges stretching back through 13 years and four governors.

The judge ordered both sides to return to mediation to settle the case, but attorney Irwin Levin says he‘s not convinced the state is serious about settling.

INDOT Considers J-style Highway Intersections

May 7, 2015
Minnesota Department of Transportation

Indiana Department of Transportation officials have proposed a new type of intersection for a rural road in Southern Indiana.

A "J" intersection is designed to be a safer way to cross a divided highway. The idea was proposed last week for the intersection at US 231 and IN 62 in Spencer County.

INDOT communications director Jason Tiller says while it would be the first of its kind in Indiana, it's proven around the country to cut crashes and fatalities by as much as 50 percent. The intersection in Spencer County has seen multiple fatal crashes.

Dan Paluska / https://www.flickr.com/photos/sixmilliondollardan/3382932556

An Indiana University sociology professor will spend the next month campaigning to kill the USA Patriot Act, after she says her personal liberties were violated because of it.

Christine Von Der Haar says she and a friend from Greece were detained at Indianapolis International Airport and Customs and Border Control agents told the pair it was because the government had been monitoring e-mails between the two.

Bill Shaw / Indiana Public Broadcasting

The Indiana Department of Transportation has new leadership after Commissioner Karl Browning stepped down without any public warning Wednesday.

Browning has led INDOT since 2013, and previously served as Commissioner from 2006 to 2009. 

Browning submitted his resignation via email to the governor Wednesday morning, saying he was proud of his accomplishments but that it was, “time to move on.” 

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