INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana and three other states will soon study the idea of adding truck-only lanes on Interstate 70.
A $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation will fund the study, which could determine the cost and feasibility of adding two truck lanes in each direction of I-70 from Kansas City, Mo., to the Ohio-West Virginia border.
The department wants to improve safety along I-70, which averages daily traffic counts of 45,000 to 250,000 vehicles, including 11,000 to 26,000 trucks. By 2035, average daily traffic on the highway will increase to more than 100,000, including an average of 25,000 trucks.
Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio will participate in the study, which likely will begin within a year, said Andrew Dietrick, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Transportation.
Dedicated truck lanes could be built specifically for big rigs, meaning they could carry heavier loads along the 750-mile stretch of road, Dietrick said.
Separating trucks from cars can improve safety since trucks take more time to stop than cars, said Kevin Roberts, director of safety and membership for the Indiana Motor Truck Association. Crowded roads also are a financial issue for the trucking industry.
''That's how big trucks make money, by moving freight,'' he said.
The I-70 feasibility study — one of six nationwide considering ways to reduce congestion and improve freight delivery — also will look at ways to pay for truck lanes. One option could be tolls for trucks using the dedicated lanes.
Other states are considering similar options.
Florida is banning big trucks from the far left lane on I-4 between Tampa and Orlando. Georgia is considering truck-only toll lanes on highways near Atlanta. Arizona, California, Texas and Gulf Coast states will study truck-only lanes along parts of I-10.