I-69 Section 3 final environmental studies released

Friday, December 11, 2009

After years of extensive environmental studies, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) have released the Tier 2 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for Section 3 of the I-69 Evansville-to-Indianapolis project.

Section 3 begins at U.S. 50 east of Washington and runs to U.S. 231 near the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center.

The Section 3 FEIS is the product of public input and meticulous environmental and engineering studies. The FEIS recommends a preferred alignment for the highway within the third section of the federally approved 142-mile I-69 corridor.

Since early 2004, numerous preliminary alignments have been made available for review at the Section 3 project office, on the I-69 Tier 2 project Web site (http://www.i69indyevn.org) and during public information meetings. Those alignments were refined and reconfigured based on public input and further study.

"The completion of the FEIS document is a critical step towards achieving our aggressive construction schedule," said INDOT Commissioner Michael Reed. "With a Record of Decision anticipated in early 2010, we are prepared to begin construction in Section 3 as soon as March. Gov. (Mitch) Daniels has worked hard to find innovative ways to make this project a reality; we are committed to this same innovative spirit in building this vital transportation asset as quickly and economically as possible."

It is anticipated that FHWA will give its final approval of the route of I-69 in Section 3 by issuing a Record of Decision (ROD) early in 2010. The ROD will authorize use of federal funds in the design and construction of Section 3 of I-69. Construction is planned to begin on portions of Section 3 in March 2010.

The corridor for the entire I-69 Evansville-to-Indianapolis project was approved by FHWA in March 2004, based on the Tier 1 EIS released in December 2003 and the Tier 1 ROD issued in March, 2004. The Section 3 FEIS is the second of six Tier 2 studies to be completed. The remaining four Tier 2 studies are in progress.

The new interstate is widely 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. Gov. Daniels' Major Moves construction program contains $700 million to fund construction of the project from I-64 near Evansville to U.S. 231 just north of Crane Naval Weapons Support Center. In September 2007, the I-69 project received additional federal support when the United States Department of Transportation designated it as one of six "Corridors of the Future." That program will fund a variety of studies designed to reduce congestion on some of the nation's busiest interstate corridors, including one for the I-69 corridor from Arkansas to Michigan.

The entire FEIS document is available at the local project office located at 60 N Commercial Park Drive in Washington, Ind., and on the I-69 project Web site. The document is also available at area libraries.

For more information about all six sections of I-69 visit the project Web site at www.i69indyevn.org .

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