Thursday, October 27, 2011

Interstate 69 opens in Kentucky

Members of the Indiana Department of Transportation Interstate 69 project team joined Kentucky transportation officials Tuesday to celebrate and learn more about their successful efforts to extend the interstate highway through Kentucky.

I-69 signage is now being installed along 55 miles of Interstate 24 and the Wendell Ford/Western Kentucky Parkway, which is being upgraded to interstate standards.

"Indiana congratulates Kentucky on receiving federal approval to upgrade some of their existing parkways for I-69," said Samuel Sarvis, Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) deputy commissioner for major program management. "Kentucky's efforts show Indiana ways the existing State Road 37 might be transformed into I-69 Sections 5 and 6."

Stretching from Texas to Michigan, I-69 has been designated by Congress as a High Priority Corridor of National Significance and one of six "Corridors of the Future." I-69 construction is regarded as a key component to the future economic vitality of southwestern Indiana and will provide necessary connectivity with the rest of the state and the nation.

The I-69 corridor from Evansville to Indianapolis was approved by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in March 2004, based on the Tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Study released in December 2003, which divided the 142 miles into six independent sections. Sixty-five miles of Sections 1, 2 and 3 are currently under construction and scheduled to open at the end of 2012.

In September, FHWA approved the route for 27 miles of Section 4 between Crane and the existing limited-access S.R. 37 south of Bloomington. Section 4 is scheduled to open to traffic by the end of 2014, and bids are being opened for the first construction contract this fall.