The grand opening of the new U.S. 31 highway between Plymouth and South Bend was held Wednesday afternoon with Governor Mike Pence and Congresswoman Jackie Walorski in attendance plus the engineers behind the project and the crews that worked on the highway.
Governor Pence said the new U.S. 31 will be a great asset to the economy of not only Northern Indiana but the whole state.
“I think it’s really incalculable,” said Pence. “When I say that roads mean jobs, I mean that having the right infrastructure creates conditions that invite more investment that will put Hoosiers to work for generations to come. The vision for what used to be called the expressway that now is the Mangus Memorial Highway is a result of decades of effort here in Indiana. I believe that it’s going to put not only Northern Indiana, but all of Indiana in a position to attract more investment, create more jobs and opportunities in addition to creating a safe and more accessible thoroughfare.”
Congresswoman Walorski added that Indiana moves a lot of agriculture product and is a giant manufacturing state and this new highway will add to the efficiency of delivering products. She said jobs depend on moving the product.
This leg of the new thoroughfare will be known as the Richard W. Mangus Memorial Highway, dedicated in the memory of the former Lakeville resident and long-time elected representative of the Indiana House of Representatives. He served from 1972 until 2004. He was in support of the project but passed away in 2008 before the project could become a reality. Members of his family were in attendance and witnessed Governor Pence sign an executive order officially naming the highway in Mangus’ memory.
The last leg of the new U.S. 31 project north of Indianapolis will be complete at the end of 2015. A total of 32 traffic signals will be eliminated, increasing safety and saving a half hour of travel time.