Officials expect new I-69 section opening by year’s end

State highway officials remain confident the latest section of southern Indiana's Interstate 69 extension will be finished this year even though construction crews still have several miles of concrete to pour.

The Indiana Department of Transportation had planned to have the highway's 27-mile section from near the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center into Bloomington open to traffic in late 2014 before pushing that back because of weather and construction delays.

Highway department spokesman Will Wingfield said that all embankment work should be done within about a month, allowing contractors to pave the entire stretch.

"Despite the rain, we're still on target for the end of the year," Wingfield told The Herald-Times of Bloomington.

The first half of the Evansville-to-Indianapolis I-69 extension opened in 2012, and runs 67 miles from near Evansville at Interstate 64 to near Crane southwest of Bloomington.

Completion of the 21-mile stretch following Indiana 37 from Bloomington to Martinsville is expected in 2016, but the route and funding for the highway's final leg to Indianapolis is uncertain.

Wingfield said construction on the new section into Bloomington won't be finished when it is opened for traffic. Some lane closures will be expected in 2016 as contractors complete erosion control projects and clean up along with stretch.

"It's easier to work in that area before it's open to traffic, so they'll try to get as much done before it opens as they can," Wingfield said.

State officials are considering five alternatives for the final Martinsville-to-Indianapolis segment after reviewing public input and evaluations of 14 initial proposed routes. An environmental document the highway department expects to publish in early 2017 will recommend one preferred route for I-69's final segment.

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