I-69 Grand Opening Events to Span 67 Miles In Southwest Indiana
State and local officials gathered Monday morning to open the southwest corridor of Interstate 69. The sections include 67 miles of new interstate from Evansville to Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center. This portion of the new I-69 corridor will officially open to traffic by 6 p.m. Monday.
Grand opening events are being held at three locations Monday. Governor Daniels delivered remarks and led a ceremonial parade ride between the event locations. Daniels told the crowd, "Many people said this interstate expansion wouldn’t happen in their lifetime, but it’s here. In addition to opening the road ahead of schedule and under budget, we’re opening greater economic opportunity, faster and safer travel and improved connectivity.”
The southwest corridor also includes 7 new interchanges in Oakland City, Petersburg, Washington, Odon-Elnora, and other cities.
INDOT Spokeswoman Cher Elliott says construction costs for the first three sections came in under the $700 million budget. She says, "Due to competitive bid pricing, the economy, and cost saving measures implemented by the contractors and INDOT combined, those bids came in roughly 80 million less."
The 67-mile southwest corridor project has been the longest contiguous new interstate construction project in the nation. A Purdue University study claims the new interstate will reduce travel time between Evansville and Crane by 38 minutes.
Elliott says the next step is section 4 from Crane to Bloomington, which has already begun. Completion for the entire stretch is scheduled for December 2014.