Development Continues Northward from Evansville to Indy
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Development of the Interstate 69 corridor continues to progress northward at the speed of business from Evansville to Indianapolis. Today the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) announce the release of the Tier 2 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for I-69 Section 5, which will improve safety and travel times on the existing State Road 37 corridor from just south of Bloomington to S.R. 39 near Martinsville.
The DEIS estimates in meticulous detail the maximum potential impacts that construction of I-69 Section 5 could have on the natural and human environment. For example, the document assumes that the existing S.R. 37 pavement would need to be replaced pending more detailed pavement assessments to be performed later. The DEIS also seeks input from the public and regulatory agencies on whether to build a full interchange in the floodplain north of Bloomington at Old S.R. 37/Walnut Street, where a partial interchange exists today. As input from the public is gathered and design details are refined, impacts are expected to be reduced further.
“The DEIS shows that I-69 is both feasible and constructible while minimizing environmental impacts,” said INDOT Deputy Commissioner Samuel Sarvis. “Indiana is a national leader in innovative highway financing and construction, and INDOT is exploring all options to continue delivering this critical project at record speed.”
The DEIS document is available for review at area libraries, the I-69 Bloomington project office and at the project website, www.i69indyevn.org. The Bloomington project office is open business days from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. across S.R. 45 from Walmart at 3802 Industrial Boulevard, Unit 2.
INDOT will conduct a public hearing on the DEIS on Thursday, Dec. 6 in the Monroe County Fairgrounds Auditorium at 5700 W. Airport Road, just west of the S.R. 45 and Airport Road intersection in Bloomington. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the formal presentation begins at 6:30 p.m., after which the public is invited to provide comments. INDOT has extended the formal comment period beyond the required 45 days, and requests all comments on the DEIS be submitted by Jan. 2, 2013, to Mary Jo Hamman at Michael Baker Jr. Corporation, P.O. Box 464, Evansville, IN, 47716.
Pending approval by FHWA, I-69 Section 5 could begin construction as early as 2013 with safety improvements to the existing S.R. 37 in Bloomington.
“The DEIS reflects input from the communities as land use experts and participating agencies,” Sarvis said. “The project team has important decisions to make in the coming months, and we are particularly interested in hearing comments on proposed access alternatives. Public comment and input will be used to refine and improve the preferred alternative.”
The new Interstate 69 between Evansville and Indianapolis is widely regarded as a key component to the future economic vitality of southwestern Indiana, and will connect an entire region with improved access to jobs, education and healthcare. The 142-mile I-69 corridor was divided into six independent sections with the Tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Study, which was approved by the Federal Highway Administration in March 2004. Governor Mitch Daniels accelerated the I-69 schedule with his Major Moves highway program, and I-69 in Indiana is the nation’s longest contiguous new interstate project currently under construction.
The 65 miles of I-69 Sections 1 through 3 are ahead of schedule to open between Evansville and U.S. 231 at Naval Support Activity Crane by the end of this year. The 27 miles between Crane and Bloomington are scheduled to open by the end of 2014.
This press release can be viewed on the INDOT website: http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=59927&information_id=120930&type=&syndicate=syndicate
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