Preparing to get around US 31 construction

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A much anticipated and perhaps much dreaded construction project begins this week, but commuters should already be planning for it.

U.S. 31 from Old Meridian Street to 136th Street in Carmel will close Friday and remain closed in both directions for several months.

INDOT crews are already making preparations with signage, orange barrels and some lane restrictions. INDOT spokesman Nathan Riggs advises drivers to get ready as well. "Plan more time than what you think you will need," says Riggs.

The closure is set to begin Friday night. The official detour is Keystone Parkway to Interstate 465, but access to area businesses will also be available via local routes like Old Meridian, Pennsylvania, and Illinois Streets.

INDOT estimates 50-thousand vehicles pass through that portion of U.S. 31 each day. All of them will be seeking alternate routes when the closure begins, so it's best to plan that route now to know how much additional drive time will be required.

By the end of this year, INDOT expects eight miles of U.S. 31 will be free of traffic lights.

The entire US 31 project should be complete in 2015.