State announces road plan; area projects among those in governor’s $4.7 billion proposal

By Shelby Mullis | The Republic

A new state plan for infrastructure improvements will include several projects in Bartholomew County during the next five years.

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the list of projects in news conferences around the state on Thursday, unveiling his $4.7 billion Next Level Road Plan. Bartholomew County has 32 separate projects on the state’s list.

The plan outlines specific Indiana Department of Transportation projects aimed at preserving existing roads and bridges, finishing current projects and investing in the state’s overall transportation system.

The Next Level Road Plan includes expanding Interstate 65 from two lanes to three lanes through Bartholomew County. State Road 46 will also be resurfaced as a part of the plan, along with several smaller infrastructure improvements.

Around 57 lane miles will be added, 151 lane miles will be resurfaced and 10 bridges will be rehabilitated or replaced over the next five years across the county, according to the plan.

The construction of a $30 million railroad overpass over the State Road 46/State Road 11 intersection west of downtown Columbus, which was announced last week, is not included in Holcomb’s plan.

Stephanie Wilson, Holcomb’s press secretary, said the overpass project was already in the works before Holcomb’s plan was being developed.

Holcomb and the GOP-dominated legislature made increasing the state’s gasoline tax to pay for infrastructure projects a top priority this year.

During the legislative session that ended in April, legislators approved a package that hikes more than 40 taxes and fees, including a 10 cent per gallon increase in Indiana’s fuel tax.

The money will only get lawmakers part of the way toward realizing their goal.

They expect that they will need to begin adding tolls to some interstates in the coming years to cover some of the state’s infrastructure needs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Bartholomew County Road projects

To learn more about Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Next Level Road Plan and the projects planned in Bartholomew County, visit www.in.gov/indot/div/nextlevel/.