Leg of I-69 project now due to open by end of 2015

The Indiana Department of Transportation now plans for Interstate 69 to reach Bloomington by the end of 2015, a year later than originally planned, a spokesman said.

Construction crews have been delayed by wet summers this year and in 2013 and by cold, inclement winters, INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield told the Evansville Courier & Press for a story Sunday.

The state factors inclement weather into construction contracts, but on average, contracts for the 27-mile fourth section segment from Crane to Bloomington experienced 50 more bad weather days in 2013 and 20 more days so far this year, Wingfield said.

"The time-consuming activity for I-69 Section 4 is moving and compacting about 20 million cubic yards of dirt and rock, excavating hills and building up embankments in the undulating terrain to support the gentle grade of an interstate," Wingfield said in a statement. "After one day of rain, it may be several days before it dries out such that crews can return to moving and hauling dirt."

INDOT's timeline once had the section opening by the end of 2014. Later, the projected opening was pushed back to no later than early 2015.

A Monroe County noise ordinance restricting overnight work on the extension threatened to delay the project even more, but a judge last week issued a temporary injunction blocking the ordinance.

Greg Wathen, president and CEO of the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana, said he anticipates the section will open before the latest estimate because INDOT is usually conservative in its forecasts.

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