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INDOT: I-69's first 65 miles may open in November

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The first 65 miles of Indiana's Interstate 69 extension from Evansville to Indianapolis are expected to open to traffic in November once contractors finish up the project's first leg, state highway officials said.

No specific opening date has been set, but contractors are working toward opening the $3 billion highway's section that will run from Evansville to the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center south of Bloomington.

Indiana Department of Transportation project manager Brian Malone said Wednesday that some crews are working six days a week to make sure the section's bridges and interchanges are completed on schedule.

Although the highway hasn't opened yet, it's already gotten some use, The Princeton Daily Clarion reported Thursday.

Last week, a storm in eastern Gibson County downed trees and blocked portions of Indiana 57, prompting state police to travel north on I-69 to Indiana 64 to get to Oakland City. And in mid-July, a plane made an emergency landing on a portion of the highway near Washington.

INDOT officials led reporters Wednesday on a tour of a 10-mile stretch of the interstate through eastern Gibson County from Indiana 68 to the Patoka River.

INDOT spokesman Cher Elliott said a bridge in that section will be about 200 feet longer than the Golden Gate Bridge's 4,200-foot main span. She said the long bridge span is needed to protect the Patoka Wildlife Refuge.

Malone said one section of the highway north of Indiana 64 is near a former mine pit, and that site prep work there included dropping 17 tons of weight from 60 feet, seven times, to compact the soil.

Elliott said INDOT is inviting communities to plan a potential celebration in mid-October along the interstate, entertaining ideas ranging from festivals to bike rides or camp-outs.

In all, the entire project from Evansville to Indianapolis will cover 142 miles.

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  • Viewpoint.....
    can you say the same about the property values of people's land that have lost their homes and forrests?
  • I-69
    If you need me, I'll be camping out next to the Crane off ramp celebrating the fact that Crane will be more likely to remain open and my home will not lose most if not all of it's value. Thanks Mitch Daniels, Richard Lugar, etc. for all of your hardwork and foresight on keeping Crane open and expanding.
    • What a joke!
      How soon will we see the payback from a project that was overpriced and underconstructed? Did I mention that roads don't make money? Do any of you have them on your payroll? Celebrating this is like telling someone their cancer is back and smiling.

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    1. So as I read this the one question that continues to come to me to ask is. Didn't Indiana only have a couple of exchanges for people to opt into which were very high because we really didn't want to expect the plan. So was this study done during that time and if so then I can understand these numbers. I also understand that we have now opened up for more options for hoosiers to choose from. Please correct if I'm wrong and if I'm not why was this not part of the story so that true overview could be taken away and not just parts of it to continue this negative tone against the ACA. I look forward to the clarity.

    2. It's really very simple. All forms of transportation are subsidized. All of them. Your tax money already goes toward every single form of transportation in the state. It is not a bad thing to put tax money toward mass transit. The state spends over 1,000,000,000 (yes billion) on roadway expansions and maintenance every single year. If you want to cry foul over anything cry foul over the overbuilding of highways which only serve people who can afford their own automobile.

    3. So instead of subsidizing a project with a market-driven scope, you suggest we subsidize a project that is way out of line with anything that can be economically sustainable just so we can have a better-looking skyline?

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