RICHMOND, Ind. -  Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe McGuinness joined Richmond Mayor Dave Snow and other state and local officials Wednesday at Richmond’s Model T Museum to cut a ceremonial ribbon to mark the official opening of the $24 million U.S. 27/U.S. 40 improvement project in downtown Richmond. The project was completed as part of Governor Eric Holcomb’s Next Level Roads initiative, a 20-year, fully funded plan to build and maintain Indiana’s transportation network.

    “This transformative project in downtown Richmond goes beyond building new roads—it’s about strengthening the entire community,” Gov. Holcomb said. “This comprehensive project replaced both concrete and asphalt, along with water and sewer infrastructure to enhance a main thoroughfare that contributes to economic growth and a better quality of life for people who live, work and visit Richmond.”

    INDOT and its prime contractor Gradex began the major reconstruction project in 2017. Work completed includes:

• Reconstruction of nearly two miles of southbound U.S. 27 and nearly one mile of eastbound U.S. 40

• New water mains

• New drainage and modernized storm sewer

• New curb ramps and sidewalks

• New traffic signals with wireless interconnectivity

• New traffic signs

    U.S. 40 between 3rd Street and 11th Street was rebuilt using precast concrete panels, a pavement innovation used for the first time in Indiana. By using precast panels, INDOT reduced pavement depth and potential conflicts with existing underground utilities. These panels are removable and replaceable so the risk of pavement damage is greatly reduced when utility maintenance is needed in the future. Also, precast panels reduced the construction time, cuts down on future maintenance needs, and extends pavement life.

    “Projects that involve highway reconstruction in a historic downtown area present us with opportunities to partner with a community to deliver on a vision that goes beyond simply rebuilding a highway,” Joe McGuinness, Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation said.” By using innovative design and construction approaches and leveraging our strong partnership with the City of Richmond and the downtown community, we were able to deliver a safer, stronger roadway that better meets the needs of drivers, walkers and pedestrians, and will complement a vibrant downtown for decades.”

    As part of the project, INDOT also partnered with the City of Richmond to replace segments of brick sidewalks in the historic downtown district and made safety improvements by straightening the alignment of southbound U.S. 27 near its intersection with North C Street.

    To celebrate the official end to the project, INDOT partnered with the Model T Museum in Richmond to do a ceremonial drive in Model T vehicles on the new segments of road.

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