Work starts on planting hundreds of trees at interchanges of US 31 bypass around Kokomo


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KOKOMO, Indiana — Crews have started planting hundreds of trees at the interchanges of the U.S. 31 bypass around Kokomo that opened last year.

The empty expanses along the highway's entrance and exit ramps will be filled with nearly 300 native and ornamental trees, The Kokomo Tribune reported ( ).

Workers began planting the trees on Tuesday, including bur oaks, American sycamores, eastern redbuds and other native species.

Mayor Greg Goodnight said more than 1,000 trees were cut down during construction of the $155 million, 13-mile bypass.

"For some people who are utilizing those exits, we want it to look as attractive as possible," he said. "We also want to do our best to better the environment."

The planting is costing nearly $100,000 under a contract from the Indiana Department of Transportation.

The contractor waited until the trees' roots went dormant before transporting and setting the trees in the ground, highway department project engineer Keith Myers said.

The Kokomo bypass opened last November as part of a $1.2 billion reconstruction project for U.S. 31 linking Indianapolis and South Bend. Other major parts include roadway upgrades being built in the northern suburbs of Indianapolis and a 20-mile section of divided, four-lane highway that opened in August between South Bend and Plymouth.

Information from: Kokomo Tribune,

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