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US 31 & Norfolk Southern RR Grade Separation

Project Purpose and Need

INDOT plans to construct a grade-separation structure where U.S. 31 intersects the Norfolk Southern Railroad and County Road 100 S. in Tipton County. The need for this project stems from the frequency of traffic disruptions, number of individuals impacted daily by the train crossing, and a history of vehicle collisions. The purpose of this project is to improve the flow of traffic on U.S. 31 across the Norfolk Southern Railroad, reduce traffic disruptions for those traveling on U.S. 31, and to reduce vehicle collisions.  

Approximately seven trains utilize the existing rail facilities each day to cross this segment of U.S. 31. Train crossings stop traffic flow, increasing the potential for vehicle collisions, and result in delayed travel times. The stopped traffic flow has led to a history of vehicle collisions near the railway intersection. From 2015-2019, 53 crashes of all varieties occurred along U.S. 31 near this intersection.  The following table shows accident data for the five-year period 2015-2019 along U.S. 31:

The proposed structure supports INDOT’s long-term goal to improve safety and reduce travel time along U.S. 31 from Indianapolis to South Bend.

Project Scope

The proposed project includes approximately 1.1 miles of roadway embankment and pavement reconstruction, beginning 0.6 miles north of the State Road 28 interchange and ending 0.2 miles south of the U.S. 31 intersection with Division Road.  The existing at-grade railroad crossing will be eliminated by constructing a single span bridge carrying U.S. 31 over Norfolk Southern Railroad and CR 100 S.

Design Considerations

A sub-surface soils investigation was conducted early in the design process. The result of this investigation indicated the presence of a large peat deposit located north of the Norfolk Southern Railroad extending below the northbound lanes, across the median and into the southbound shoulder.  The design team evaluated options to improve the soil conditions, construct a bridge to span the area of poor soils and a shifting the alignment of U.S. 31. The results of this analysis indicated shifting the alignment was found to be the most economical solution and eliminated the need for future bridge maintenance costs. The total savings associated with shifting the alignment was anticipated to be $3.5 million.

Current Schedule

NEPA Process:  Complete Summer 2020

Final Design:  Complete Summer 2020

Right-of-Way Acquisition:  Complete Fall 2020

Construction: Winter 2021 – Fall 2022    

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