Interstate 69 section to Bloomington due to open next week

The next section of the Interstate 69 extension in southern Indiana is due to open next week, connecting Bloomington with Evansville.

The Evansville Courier & Press and The Bloomington Herald-Times reported Wednesday that the 27-mile Section 4 between Bloomington and Naval Support Activity Crane will open Dec. 9. Gov. Mike Pence is expected to attend the ribbon-cutting at the WestGate Academy in an industrial complex adjacent to naval facility.

The opening of Section 4 will allow motorists for the first time to drive from Evansville to Indianapolis through Bloomington using only multi-lane highways. The first three sections covering 67 miles between Evansville and Crane opened in 2012.

Section 5 now under construction follows the path of existing Indiana 37 between Bloomington and Martinsville.

Meanwhile, proposed routes for the final leg of Indiana's Interstate 69 extension project have some residents fearful of what could happen to their homes.

State highway officials are holding meetings this week to take public comments about the five proposed routes for the highway between Martinsville and Indianapolis. A final recommendation isn't expected until 2017.

Two proposed routes go north from the current Indiana 37 around Mooresville, hooking up with I-70 just west of Plainfield

A state report said nearly 280 residences and 96 businesses between Martinsville and Indianapolis would need to be relocated if a route following Indiana 37 is chosen.

Some residents living along that route already hear traffic on the highway and are concerned about how bad the noise would become if the road were upgraded into an interstate. Morgan County residents Jeff and Kelly Parsons said at a meeting Monday in Indianapolis that they already have considered moving away from the area.

"We just moved into a house about two years ago," Jeff Parsons said. "We can hear the 37 traffic now. Our biggest concern is will we stay or will we go?"

Two other proposed routes go north from Indiana 37 around the town of Mooresville, hooking up with I-70 just west of Plainfield. Mooresville residents Sherry Bush and Roberta Sharp started a group called the Greater Mooresville Advisory Committee that's opposed to the interstate cutting through their small town.

"I just saw that they change one of the routes slightly so instead of going near me, it's going right through my house," Sharp said.

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