Environmentalists challenge permit for I-69 bridges

Environmentalists challenging a state permit for the Interstate 69 extension project argue that it was unlawfully issued and authorizes a series of bridges along the new highway that would worsen flooding in southwestern Indiana.

The Hoosier Environmental Council wants an administrative law judge to overturn the permit issued in March for the $3 billion, 142-mile highway being built between Evansville and Indianapolis.

It contends that the three sets of bridges the permit from the Department of Natural Resources authorizes for the East Fork of the White River and two tributaries will worsen flooding across nearly 6,000 acres.

Council senior policy director Tim Maloney says most of the bridges' length would be built on 25-foot-tall causeways that would essentially become "dams" when the river floods and cause water to back up.

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