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Indiana Department of Transportation

US 31 Kokomo > Project Overview Project Overview

The new U.S. 31 Kokomo Freeway is a four-lane divided limited-access rural highway that avoids traffic slowdowns at Kokomo by routing travelers east of the city. The 13-mile roadway begins just south of the Tipton/Howard county line (south of Kokomo) and ends approximately one mile north of the U.S. 31/U.S. 35 intersection (north of Kokomo in Howard County). There are six interchanges. Construction was completed ahead of schedule and costs – $155 million – were less than half of original estimates. The Freeway opened to the motoring public on Nov. 26, 2013. Click here to see a video of the U.S. 31 Kokomo Freeway Ribbon Cutting.

Location

The new U.S. 31 Kokomo Freeway is located primarily in Howard County. It begins at Tipton County Road 550 North and continues around the eastside of Kokomo to one mile north of the north junction of U.S. 35 at Howard County Road 450. This corridor traverses the city of Kokomo and Center Township, as well as portions of Clay, Howard, Taylor, and Harrison Townships in Howard County. One mile of the project extends into Prairie and Liberty Townships in northern Tipton County.

Former Conditions

The former U.S. 31 facility was built in the 1950s to bypass the original U.S. 31 route that passed through downtown Kokomo. With the opening of the new U.S. 31 Kokomo Freeway, the former U.S. 31 has been renamed State Road 931, SR 931, the route is a four-lane divided roadway that includes 15 signalized intersections, three bridges, and three at-grade railroad crossings. There are approximately 140 minor cross-street and private property access points.

Purpose and Need

The U.S. 31 Freeway at Kokomo satisfied several goals:

• Improves the level of safety for motorists along the U.S. 31 corridor
• Reduces traffic congestion and travel time within the U.S. 31 corridor
• Provides for reliable and efficient movement of commerce and regional travel (consistent with long-range plans)

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Here are the most Frequently Asked Questions about the U.S. 31 Kokomo Freeway project.

    Project History

    Statewide Perspective: The need for transportation improvements in the U.S 31 corridor had been recognized by the State of Indiana for more than 20 years. In 1992, INDOT initiated an in-depth study of alternative projects and strategies to improve north-south traffic flow along the U.S. 31 corridor through the greater Kokomo area.

    This Major Investment Study (MIS), completed in 1995, evaluated a wide variety of options to improve the U.S. 31 corridor, including new alignments. The final recommendation of the MIS called for an upgrade of the existing U.S. 31 facility to urban freeway standards. The recommended upgrade designated a series of interchanges at major cross-streets within the study corridor.

    Local / Regional Perspective: In 1991, traffic congestion along U.S. 31 had intensified to a point that the Kokomo-Howard County Governmental Coordinating Council (GCC) acknowledged the problem and adopted the upgrade of U.S. 31 into their 1991 Transportation Policy Plan. The 1995 MIS recommended upgrading the existing U.S. 31 facility to freeway standards which was endorsed by the GCC and adopted into its Long Range Transportation Plan for Kokomo and Central Howard County for 1995 to 2015.

    Following the MIS, the local businesses expressed concern and opposition over the potential impacts that would be associated with upgrading U.S. 31. As a result, the Kokomo-Howard County GCC lifted their endorsement of the existing corridor upgrade alternative.
     
    In February 2000, the Kokomo-Howard County GCC adopted a long-range transportation plan update for the years 2000 to 2025 that included a recommendation for a U.S. 31 east bypass. The GCC subsequently formed a U.S. 31 Task Force comprised of local officials and business leaders to identify and address local issues relating to future U.S. 31 improvements. In August 2000, based on the recommendations of the group, the GCC adopted Resolution 2000-3: Resolution for Communicating U.S. 31 Priorities to the Indiana Department of Transportation for Consideration in an Environmental Impact Study of U.S. 31 in Howard County.