To mark the opening on the new U.S. 31, NewsCenter16 conducted an unofficial test run comparing travel times on the old and new stretches of road.
Twenty miles of divided, four-lane highway between the U.S. 20 Bypass in South Bend and U.S. 30 near Plymouth opened to the public Thursday morning.
Travel times were calculated between Ireland Rd. and U.S. 30 at the main interchanges -- Kern Rd, Lakeville-- U.S. 4, La Paz -- U.S. 6, and ending at U.S. 30. All of the travel times were recorded at the posted speed limits.
From Ireland to Kern Rd, NewsCenter16 clocked 2 minutes 20 seconds on old 31, and 2 minutes 3 seconds on new 31. Time savings: 17 seconds.
From Kern Rd. to Lakeville, the difference between old and new 31 was 7 minutes 37 seconds, versus 4 minutes and 57 seconds. Time savings: 2 minutes, 40 seconds.
Lakeville to LaPaz, the numbers were 15 minutes and 20 seconds compared with 6 and 16 seconds on the new stretch. Time savings: 9 minutes, 4 seconds.
La Paz to U.S. 30, the test drive clocked 9 minutes versus 7 minutes and 26 seconds on new 31. Time savings: 1 minutes, 34 seconds.
Therefore, the totals came out to 34 minutes on the old 31 versus just under 21 minutes on the new stretch of limited access highway. Times savings: about 13 minutes.
NOTE: These travel times will vary greatly depending on time of day, weather conditions and adherence to the posted speed limits. This test was conducted after rush hour, at about 7 p.m. This experiment is not to be considered scientific by any means, but rather a look at how the new road could potentially affect travel times.