Update on Hoosier roads, bridges

Provided photo The new Interstate 69 will connect Evansville to Indianapolis. The portion from Bloomington to Martinsville is under construction. The final leg, from Martinsville to Indianapolis, is still in the planning stages.

INDIANAPOLIS — Several big projects to build, improve and maintain roads and bridges are underway in Indiana.

Brandye Hendrickson, commissioner of Indiana Department of Transportation, talked about the projects at the Indiana Logistics Summit.

“To recap some of the things we worked on in 2016 — it’s been a very busy year,” she said. “We invested $850 million in state projects. We rehabilitated or replaced 400 bridges, and we invested more than $200 million through the federal aid program in local projects.

“As we move forward to the next session, having that conversation continue and be more robust is really an exciting prospect.”

“In 2017, we plan for a record-breaking year for preservation. We had a wonderful 10 years of major moves funding to invest in those big added-capacity projects. But now that we’re wrapping that era up, we’re investing more into taking care of what we have.”

Even though there will be a larger focus on preservation, several projects still are underway. Here’s a glimpse at what’s going on:

U.S. 31/ S.R. 28 Tipton Interchange

  • Goal: Single-lane roundabout
  • Estimated cost: $10.8 million
  • Status: Under construction. Opens late 2016.

106th Street and I-69 Interchange

  • Goal: Two-lane roundabout and I-69 ramps
  • Estimated cost: $34 million
  • Status: Under construction. Opens late 2016.

U.S. 33 Goshen

  • Goal: Re-route U.S. 33 away from downtown
  • Estimated cost: $18.9 million
  • Status: Under construction. Opens fall of 2018.

Boonville Bypass

  • Goal: Shift S.R. 61 west of downtown; 4.1-mile alternative to downtown Boonville.
  • Estimated cost: $17.3 million
  • Status: Under construction. Opens late 2017.

U.S. 50 North Vernon Bypass

  • Goal: Encircle north side of North Vernon
  • Estimated cost: Undetermined
  • Status: Western section opened in December 2013. Eastern section under construction. Opens May 2017.

Work Continues On I-69

Construction on I-69 will continue throughout the next few years. Goals for the project include improved freight movement, safe transportation and the ability to directly connect urban areas.

Section five of the project, spanning from Bloomington to Martinsville, will rehabilitate and upgrade 21 miles of existing S.R. 37. An additional lane per direction will be added in urban areas.

Four new interchanges and four new overpasses are included in the project. Construction is underway.

Section six of I-69 will connect Martinsville to Indianapolis, a 27-mile stretch. State road 37 was identified as the most reasonable route.

The project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement is set to be published in 2017. Final statement and record of decision will be issued in 2018.

The I-69 Ohio River Crossing, between Evansville and Henderson, Ky., will begin development in early 2017.

Expected Impact Of I-69 In Indiana

  • In the first 20 years, about 30,000 fewer serious crashes and 40,000 fewer injuries.
  • Over $1 billion drive-time vehicle operating cost savings.
  • Over $54 million annual operating cost savings for truckers.
  • Over 4,500 permanent jobs.
  • Over $3.5 billion additional personal income growth.

Building Bridges

In addition to improving Indiana’s roads, work on the Ohio River bridges that connect southern Indiana to Louisville continues.

The $2.3 billion project includes two bridges that are expected to be finished by year end.

It has a projected economic impact of $87 billion over the next 30 years. An anticipated 15,000 new jobs and $29.5 billion in additional personal income will be made, Hendrickson said.

The bridges will double cross-river traffic capacity and provide a link between Louisville and Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville. It will open new opportunities for industrial, commercial, retail and residential development.

The two bridges are:

1. Downtown Crossing — A new I-65 bridge with six northbound lanes. Project includes reconfiguration of spaghetti junction and reconfiguration of Indiana roadways and bridge approaches.

2. East End Crossing — A new bridge eight miles upstream from downtown Louisville. It will extend the Snyder Freeway in Kentucky to the new bridge, including a 1,700-foot tunnel. A four-mile new-terrain highway to Indiana will extend Lee Hamilton Highway to the new bridge.

River Link, a new all-electronic tolling system, will be used. Sensors will detect cars as they pass, preventing the need to stop and pay. Cars will be billed according to vehicle size.

Erica Quinlan can be reached at 317-726-5391, ext. 4, or equinlan@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @AgNews_Quinlan.

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