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Interstate 69 extension under budget, set to open

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The first three sections of the new Interstate 69 extension will officially open in southwest Indiana on Nov. 19, Gov. Mitch Daniels and the Indiana Department of Transportation announced Friday.

The opening will cover a 67-mile stretch connecting communities from just northeast of Evansville at Interstate 64 to the U.S. 231 interchange near the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center.

The estimated cost of the first three sections is $600 million, about $80 million under budget, Daniels said in a prepared statement.

The road ultimately will stretch from Evansville to Indianapolis through Bloomington. The highway to Bloomington is expected to open to traffic by the end of 2014.

Preliminary planning for Section 5, a 21-mile section that will follow Indiana 37 through Bloomington to just south of Martinsville, is proceeding, with the draft environmental impact statement due by the end of the year, state officials said. The section is expected to cost between $500 million and $545 million, about $100 million more than estimates from a year ago.

“Many people said this interstate expansion wouldn’t happen in their lifetime, but it’s now poised to open and the result will be greater economic opportunity, faster and safer travel, improved connectivity, easier access for leisure travel and more,” Daniels said.

Most of the I-69 extension is funded by money from the state’s decision to lease the Indiana Toll Road for 75 years to a private Spanish-Australian consortium for $3.8 billion in 2006.
 

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  • Boondoggle
    Mitch reports the first three sections are under budget. They also built fewer interchanges than planned (decreasing the utility of the road to the locals), and constructed the pavement to inferior standards (insuring quicker and higher repair cost than a typical interstate highway). All this and we also blew through three billion dollars in five years. Now Mitch says he's OK with the highway ending at 37, because his term is over, and doesn't have anymore goodies to hand out to his cronies. Thanks Mitch.
  • I almost hate to, but I have to laugh at the naysayers and doom and gloomers. Saddest thing for them is both major candidates for Governor back I-69 including the one who lives down there. They both understand and know the importance to the economy of southwestern Indiana and the entire state. Interesting how the press is trying to make a big deal out of how overbudget the next section is when they have been saying that for each previous section. And all sections have come in under budget. They claim the next section is over by $100 million, but then give a $45 million range for what the next one is supposed to cost. All said and done, if this next section is truly $100 million over, the first 3 sections being $80 million under will just about cover it.
  • Destiny
    Our destiny with failure is on full display.....

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