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It's time for I-69 naysayers to let it goPosted Monday, November 14, 2011, at 1:10 PM
This aerial view taken looking southwest from near the U.S. 231/State Road 58 area in Greene County shows that the path of I-69 is very visible and moving toward Monroe County. (Submitted photo)
Their latest ploy launched in the last two weeks has preyed on the emotions attached to a pair of area traffic accidents that they have somehow linked to the road construction project.
The two groups, the Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads and the I-69 Accountability Project, have called for construction to stop -- which is not new. They have been hollering that tune for more than decade.
This time, they contend construction in Greene and Daviess counties has created traffic hazards that caused a pair of serious crashes.
"I-69 construction and related activities have created extremely dangerous traffic hazards and property damage in Greene and Daviess counties," CARR and the I-69 Accountability Project, Inc., claimed in a prepared news release.
The groups allege that on Oct. 10, three Daviess County citizens were killed when a truck, hauling gravel for I-69 construction, slammed into two disabled vans, killing the two occupants of the vans and a farmer who was assisting at the scene.
Also, on Oct. 31, four people were seriously hurt when two trucks collided head-on near the U.S. 231 interchange that is under construction for I-69.
The news release cited, "A local resident confirmed that the accident occurred in the work zone for I-69. This congested area does not have proper warning signs and safety procedures in the construction zone are not being followed."
That's hogwash and more than a few rest stops away from the truth.
Cher Elliott, spokesperson for the Indiana Department of Transportation's Vincennes District, is correct in saying the crashes cited did not happen in designated construction zones or involve vehicles being used by any of the project contractors.
I agree with the Evansville Courier and Press, which recently published an editorial that states: "Regardless of the circumstances, we are sorry for the people who died or were injured in those accidents. But that said, we are utterly shocked at the gall of highway opponents, who seem to be defending the current roads that feed into Bloomington from the south. There is no better reason for the construction of I-69 than to replace the narrow highways now used by students and visitors to Bloomington."
The propaganda the I-69 opposition is generating goes on and on.
Last week, Mark Stoops of the Bloomington/Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization called INDOT's I-69 strategy an "extortion" because state officials want a commitment from his group to include the I-69 project in their future master plan or risk losing valuable federal and state funding that Bloomington would be receiving.
Again, The Evansville Courier & Press could not have said it better when they wrote, "Meanwhile, the Bloomington planners refused another opportunity to join the real world, agreeing instead to delay a vote on including I-69 in the county transportation plan until February. They say they want a role in helping plan I-69's course in Monroe County. They probably could have had that long ago by working with the state as other counties have done."
Currently, 65 miles of Sections 1, 2 and 3 are under construction and scheduled to open at the end of 2012. In September, the Federal Highway Administration approved the 27-mile route of Section 4 between Crane and Bloomington.
It's time for the I-69 opponents to shut up, save their legal fees and realize the road is already being built.
Come down to Cass, Taylor, Jackson and Center townships in Greene County and look around. The new road is heading to Monroe County whether the naysayers want it or not.
The rest of the state -- including the majority of the folks here in Greene County -- want it, need it and are looking forward to driving on it very soon.
Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be contacted by telephone at 847-4487 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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