TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A groundbreaking was held Tuesday for a total reconstruction project with an Indy 500 theme at the Clear Creek Welcome Center on I-70 Eastbound at mile marker two in West Terre Haute.

“Anything that makes the Hoosier state more welcoming, we’re in for,” Megan Delucenay, Public Relations Director for INDOT Crawfordsville District, said. “It’s one of the first things they’ll experience in the Hoosier state. So, we’re really excited about that. It’s going to be colorful; it’s going to have Indiana history, it’s going to be really cool.”

The Clear Creek Welcome Center is part of the Indiana Department of Transportation’s 10-year plan to improve interstate rest areas and welcome centers statewide. That plan calls for an investment of over 600 million in improvements to 21 rest areas by the end of 2030.

“As the entrance from the west into Indiana, this is an important spot for travelers, up to 30 to 40 thousand a day to enter Indiana,” said Chris Switzer, Vigo County Commissioner of District 2. “We’re excited to have this in our backyard. We’re excited that a local contractor from Terre Haute got the work. Close to 45 million dollars of that work will stay right here in Terre Haute.”

The facility will undergo a complete re-imagination and rebuild.

“It’s going to be a big project. A two-year project. Around 53 million dollars, so a big investment in the Hoosier state,” Delucenay said.

The renovations will include a new main building that pays tribute to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the state’s rich auto racing history. New restrooms, a children’s play area, a dog park, a walking path, and additional truck parking and trucker restroom facilities round out the project. Officials say the rest stop will also be equipped with better vending options and tourism-related information. The Indy 500 theme will be featured in interactive exhibits.

“We’re going to have a real-life Indy car in there on a bank that’s going to have the sounds like you’re in a race, so it kind of just gives everybody the feeling of ‘wow, this is what the Hoosier state is all about,'” DeLucenay said.

Officials hope that Indiana visitors will feel welcomed the moment they arrive at the new rest stop.

INDOT said the Clear Creek Welcome Center will close on or after Thursday, June 1, 2023, for the project. Officials expect it to reopen in 2025.