Cutting corners on the I-69 extension

October 23, 2009
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Gov. Mitch Daniels is raising eyebrows in the Evansville area for ramrodding a section of the Interstate 69 extension ahead of schedule by a whopping three years.

The 68-mile stretch from Evansville to the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Crane now is expected to be built by 2012. In other words, nearly half the distance to Indianapolis would be completed by Daniels’ final year in office.

The push is so preliminary that the Department of Transportation hasn’t started the drawings for parts of the Evansville-to-Crane leg, let alone acquired the land or permits. Still, the department’s deputy commissioner for major programs, Samuel Sarvis, told Evansville Courier & Press editors this month that the target can be met.

And the project will be done in typical Daniels fashion, the lowest cost possible. That means using the same firm to design and build the road, which will allow construction to begin when the designs aren’t so much as half-complete.

Pavement will be thin at first because planners anticipate few trucks until the entire road is finished to Indianapolis. More pavement can be added later. The decision between concrete and asphalt also will be heavily influenced by cost.

How do you feel about the plans? Many people in southwestern reaches of the state are grateful the long-discussed project is finally moving ahead. But will future taxpayers wish the state spent more money up front?


  • Build it and they will come
    I think that Daniels wants to get the ball rolling. I can't blame him for that. If it doesn't get built, we will regret that in 20 years.
  • I think anything that gets the road built is good. Pavement thickness is not as big an issue now as getting it built. Adding asphalt in the top when needed will not be a big issue, and hopefully it will shut up the naysayers or at least make their arguements moot.
    • paper thin
      If you're going to build it, you have to build it right. So what's the state going to do? Are they going to have the ribbon cutting and immediately send out the construction workers to fix this thing? This makes zero sense.

      If they're really trying to save money just make I69 gravel..they can always go back and lay concrete.
    • major moves indeed
      They've been talking about I-69 in Evansville for 20 years becasue of studies and environmental delays. We have a Governor who wants to get this done, the next Gov. may not. It is much easier for foes to dealy the project again if it is not started than to stop it midway through.

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