Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski reflected on the 30 years it took to build the highway and said he is looking forward to the development it is expected to bring in the future.
“Today, we’re here to celebrate the next phase of that vision,” he said.
Citing Indiana’s central location in the country as being advantageous for economic development, Pence said the new highway can only improve the possibilities.
“I often say I think roads mean jobs,” he said. “... If you’re going to be the Crossroads of America, you better have the roads to back it up. This road will mean jobs for this generation and the next.”
Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin said the city has already begun efforts in this regard by developing an economic development outreach campaign.
“It will bring change to every community along the corridor,” he said. “Without the highway, this wouldn’t be as likely. ... It’s going to create even more work for us, and that’s what we’re happy about.”
Lee Hoard, former Delphi mayor and Carroll County sheriff, recalled times as sheriff having to tell people their loved ones were killed in an accident and praised the new road for having a safer design.
As criticisms over the road surfaced in the days following its opening, including the lack of signage, increased traffic near the Tyson plant, industrial park and Clymers and several accidents, officials say improvements are continuing to be made.
“It’s a $320 million project,” Franklin said. “There will be some oversights, but I’m confident they’ll be corrected.”
Although the road is open for traffic, Indiana Department of Transportation Project Manager Jim Earl said the road wouldn’t be completely finished until the spring.
Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him: @PharosMAK