U.S. 31 Kokomo bypass opens

Suddenly, the dreaded “Kokomo Crawl” is just a memory for the capital commuting community from the South Bend area.

Officials today cut the ribbon on a new $155 million bypass.

The four lane divided freeway allows motorists to speed through Kokomo at 65 miles an hour, saving an estimated half hour of travel time on each trip between South Bend and Indianapolis.

"We brought in the highway 31 bypass under budget and ahead of schedule and just in time for the holidays,” said Governor Mike Pence, (R) Indiana.

The Kokomo bypass is one of three being built to facilitate travel between Indianapolis and the northern part of the state.

“The goal of this thing is to go from South Bend to Indianapolis and from Indianapolis to South Bend and set your cruise control. Never hit the brake. Right? Right? Right?" said Elkhart County Councilman John Letherman.

Not only is the new 31 through Kokomo more convenient for travelers, it’s bound to be good for business here in our own backyard. “Our region is the second largest manufacturing hub, economic engine in the State of Indiana and the largest economic hub is Indianapolis and those two need to be connected by a limited access real freeway,” said Kyle Hannon with the Elkhart Chamber of Commerce.

The 13 mile long Kokomo bypass is one of three being built to make the trip between South Bend and Indianapolis easier. The Kokomo bypass steers motorists clear of the 15 traffic signals that line the old version of U.S. 31.

The bypass between South Bend and Plymouth should be completed by the end of 2014, while the bypass in Hamilton County north of Indianapolis will be open by t he end of 2015.

The old section of U.S. 31 through Kokomo will now be renamed State Road 931.

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