INDOT breaks ground on new Kankakee Welcome Center

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INDOT breaks ground on new Kankakee Welcome Center


JASPER COUNTY, Ind. - Officials from the Indiana Department of Transportation joined with state and local leaders to break ground today on a new welcome center at mile marker 231 on I-65 southbound. 

"This state-of-the-art facility will not only give visitors a taste of our Hoosier Hospitality, but also showcase all that Northwest Indiana has to offer," Gov. Eric J. Holcomb said. "As we continue with plans to replace welcome centers at entry points to the state, we're excited for each one to represent the personality and unique features of the region in which they are located."

The new Kankakee Welcome Center will replace an existing facility that is nearly 40 years old and will be fully ADA compliant, energy efficient and feature modern restrooms, electronic tourism displays, public art, expanded parking, walking trails and a natural wetlands area. The design of the welcome center revolves around the wind generation industry, the dunes and Lake Michigan. Interactive displays inside the building will exhibit monarch butterflies, a herd of buffalo, sandhill cranes and wind generation. Seven individual art murals will be commissioned and painted on wind turbine blades that will rise up out of the lake built adjacent to the building.

"This investment is crucial for both tourists and Indiana motorists. We look forward to people coming from near and far to enjoy these new facilities and interact with the space," INDOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness stated.

Replacing the northbound Kankakee Rest Area is also part of this nearly $33 million contract awarded to Hasse Construction. Both rest areas will feature separate trucker restroom facilities located in the truck parking area. The southbound rest area will gain 94 truck parking spaces for a total of 150, and the northbound side will gain 19 truck parking spaces for a total of 75. The southbound rest area has already been closed to the public, and an announcement will be made prior to the closure of the northbound rest area. Construction is expected to take approximately two years. 

INDOT is in the second year of a 10-year, $275 million plan to replace welcome centers at entry points to the state. Pigeon Creek Welcome Center on southbound I-69 near mile marker 345 in Steuben County was the first to be replaced. The $4.4 million, 7,500 square feet facility opened to the public in October 2020 and also includes electronic tourism displays that highlight the recreational and agricultural resources of the region.

“Welcome Centers many times provide our visitors with a first impression of Indiana and are our opportunity to put our best foot forward. These stunning new welcome centers will do just that," said Indiana Destination Development Corporation (IDDC) Secretary and Chief Executive Officer Elaine Bedel. "The interactive displays highlighting the State’s history, culture, and quality of life are a great addition for showcasing Indiana.”

A Facebook live recording of the event can be found on the INDOT Northwest page here.


Architect rendering of the new Kankakee Welcome Center. The roof of the building will resemble two wind turbine blades, the exterior walls the sand dunes on the lakeshore and the glass on the building Lake Michigan.

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Over the past 100 years, INDOT has transformed the state of Indiana into the Crossroads of America we know today. With six district offices and 3,500 employees, the agency is responsible for constructing and maintaining more than 29,000 lane miles of highways, more than 5,700 bridges, and supporting 4,500 rail miles and 117 airports across the state. Indiana once again ranked #1 in the U.S. for infrastructure in CNBC’s 2019 “America’s Top States for Business” ranking. Learn more about INDOT at

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