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The new I-69 between Evansville and Indianapolis is a key component to the future economic vitality of southwestern Indiana, and will connect an entire region with improved access to jobs, education and healthcare..
In the 1970s a group of visionaries began dreaming of a "Southwest Indiana Highway" connecting Evansville to Bloomington. In 1991, Congress proposed a "New National Highway System" and the dream took root as part of a new I-69 corridor. Designated as one of six Corridors of the Future, I-69 will ultimately extend from Mexico to Canada-- making it a primary north-south artery for the movement of goods and services in the US.
In late 1999, a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Study (EIS) was initiated for the Evansville to Indianapolis portion of I-69. This EIS looked at a wide range of possible highway corridors to link Evansville and Indianapolis. In December of 2003, a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for I-69 was issued recommending Alternative 3C as the preferred corridor for I-69. The Federal Highway Administration selected Alternative 3C for I-69 in its Record of Decision (ROD) dated March 24, 2004. The FEIS and ROD divided the 142-mile corridor into six sections, paving the way for the initiation of Tier 2 studies for I-69.
The Tier 2 Environmental Studies have been completed for Sections 1 through 5. Thanks to the commitment of governors Mitch Daniels and Mike Pence, and funds from the lease of the Indiana Toll Road, I-69 is rapidly moving through construction. Sections 1 through 3 from Evansville to the Naval Support Activity Crane facility are now open to traffic, and Section 4 from Crane to Bloomington is planned to open in late 2015. Mainline construction on Section 5 began in late 2014 and is scheduled for completion in two years. The Indiana Department of Transportation also is advancing the environmental studies for Section 6.
At the peak of construction in 2012, I-69 was the longest contiguous new terrain interstate construction project in the U.S., putting Indiana in an enviable position to attract new jobs in a competitive global marketplace.