Judge’s ruling removes hurdles to I-69 extension

A ruling in federal court has removed several potential hurdles to the long-planned Interstate 69 extension, including one that sought to block a section through Perry Township in Indianapolis, reports the Evansville Courier & Press.

The decision handed down late Monday by U.S. District Court Judge David Hamilton denied plaintiff claims that Major Moves disallowed the highway from running though the township south of downtown. The judge ruled that since the highway would not be a toll road, it was allowed.

The ruling also denied claims by a group of plaintiffs who sought to stop the extension through Martinsville and Bloomington on the grounds that it would harm or destroy forest, farmland, sensitive cave ecosystems and the endangered Indiana bat.

While an appeal is likely, the ruling means the Indiana Department of Transportation can start on the first section of the interstate, a 13-mile stretch from Evansville to Oaland City, assuming federal funding is approved. Work on the extension could begin next summer or fall.

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