Indiana says construction on key I-69 section moving ahead

State highway officials say they hope to begin building a key section of Interstate 69 to Bloomington by the end of 2011 after releasing the final environmental impact statement for the stretch.

The Indiana Department of Transportation said Monday it will ask the Federal Highway Administration to release federal funds for final preparations before building the section connecting the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center with the existing four-lane Indiana 37 near Bloomington. Sections from Evansville to Crane already are under construction.

INDOT Commissioner Michael Cline says the Bloomington-to-Evansville portion of the highway should open to traffic by the end of 2014.

Environmentalists and others still oppose the $3 billion project. Neighboring landowners recently filed papers saying they might sue INDOT and the FHA over lingering concerns.

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