I-69 Expansion Project Section Six Construction Timeline
INDOT released a general timeline of events for the I-69 expansion project for section six in a series of meetings conducted throughout Johnson and Morgan counties. Residents and business owners were advised SR 37 has been selected as the primary option for the I-69 corridor. The exact route will be finalized along with the location and description of interchanges at a later date.
The next step of this project is an environmental impact study and analysis. The draft of this study should be completed and released to the public in the first quarter of 2017. This study will analyze many components including: land use, social, traffic, air quality, highway noise, historic and archaeological, hazardous waste sites, threatened and endangered species, floodplains, wetlands, agricultural, forests, water quality, and other indirect and cumulative impacts.
Public hearings will be conducted in the second quarter of 2017 to answer questions and discuss the findings of the report after the draft environmental impact statement is released. After those meetings are held a final environmental impact statement and record of decision will be issued.
INDOT has stated that property acquisition will take place after the environmental impact statement and record of decision are completed. However, there could be some exceptions of land being taken prior to the completion of these reports. This would generally be done on a case by case basis.
Some reports estimate the final section of the I-69 expansion could open as early as 2022 or as late as 2027 depending on planning and budgeting.
Construction of sections one through five
If construction of section five is any indicator of how swiftly construction of section six will go, drivers will have a long time to wait for the completion of the last leg of I-69. Numerous media reports point to problems with private funding and subcontractors missing deadlines. Section five was initially slated to be complete by the end of 2016, however, delays have pushed the completion date back by at least six months.
Sections one through four of the I-69 expansion were all completed within original plan timelines but struggles with section five construction have repeatedly been blamed on the public-private funding source that was secured for this most recent section.
I-69 Ohio River crossing
The I-69 expansion project also includes improving the Ohio River crossing between Evansville, Indiana and Henderson, Kentucky. In June 2016, governors from both states signed a memorandum of understanding to study the environmental and economic impacts of this potential bridge improvement. INDOT has stated that the studies will take several years to complete and once that work is done, information will be shared with key stakeholders and be made available at public hearings. It is projected that a new I-69 Ohio River crossing will give the area a more modern bridge that will be better equipped to handle the projected traffic volume.
Interstate 69 when it is completed will link Canada to Mexico through Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. Much of the route south of Tennessee has yet to be completed.