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I-69 segment officially opens with ribbon-cutting ceremony

Monday, November 19, 2012

(By Sabrina Westfall) CNN anchor Carlos Diaz (right) holds the gold medal David Boudia (left) won in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Both are graduates of Indiana high schools.
(By Sabrina Westfall) Members of the United States Navy held up the I-69 "Open for Business" sign, which Governor Mitch Daniels later cut to signify the official opening of the section of the interstate Tuesday. [Order this photo]
Governor Mitch Daniels led a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the US 231 and Interstate 69 interchange in preparation for the official opening at 6 p.m. Monday night.

Daniels stressed the opening of the interstate was a huge milestone in Indiana, and it played many key roles in transportation across the state.

"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," Daniels said.

Daniels noted while "time is money" and many people were looking forward to the opening of the interstate to save time on their commute, safety was a huge priority.

"Right before I got on the bike ... there was a mom with a son severely disabled from a wreck. She told me if I-69 had been here two years ago it wouldn't have happened. It is estimated that 40,000 wrecks will be prevented," Daniels stressed.

He added the interstate will help small communities along the new roadway be more prosperous and allow easier distribution of products.

"All of Indiana does not look like Metro Indianapolis or Bloomington. It should be the birthright of every Hoosier to live in a prosperous community," Daniels added.

Daniels noted jokingly, "Now just to dispel a common misconception, we did not do all this work and move heaven and earth just so I could have a great motorcycle ride."

Naval Support Activity (NSA) Crane Commanding Officer James Stewart said the benefits of having I-69 less than two miles from the base would be almost immediate.

"We create essential products, and these products will now reach the aircrafts, ships and men on the frontlines quicker and more efficiently," Stewart said.

Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) Commissioner Michael Cline reminded the governor of the time when he took the position, and was told to get a series of projects done and work on the culture at INDOT.

"We are working on the culture, and we have gotten this project done, Governor," Cline said.

Cline noted there were several involved in the implementation of I-69, including engineers and contractors.

Carlos Diaz and David Boudia were both a part of the I-69 ribbon-cutting, as two individuals who had been challenged in their dreams, but succeeded.

"People would tell me being a local TV anchor is difficult, and I said I don't want to be a local TV anchor. They said good, but I said I wanted to be a national TV anchor," Diaz said.

Diaz was born and raised on the south side of Indianapolis, and is currently a CNN anchor, and formerly worked at ESPN.

Boudia is a Noblesville graduate who showed how far hard work can take an Indiana man by earning a gold medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics diving category.

"He (Boudia) was afraid of heights. Can you imagine that from somebody that is now diving three stories at 35 miles per hour?" Diaz said.

Diaz compared his and Boudia's struggles with being told they could never accomplish their dreams to Interstate 69.

INDOT construction worker Don Robbins has been working on the I-69 project for the last year and a half and said seeing the completed portion of the roadway is indescribable.

"You can't even imagine," Robbins said as he looked at the completed interstate. "It was such a big difference from day to day. You saw improvement each day, and you would just be in awe."

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Drove this road yesterday (Tuesday) I live in Linton and drove to 231 South of Bloomfield to get on it. It cut about 30 mins off my trip to Bud's Harley in E-Ville. I did'nt think I would ever drive myself on this new highway.

-- Posted by ChooChoo on Wed, Nov 21, 2012, at 7:46 AM

what is the speed limit?

-- Posted by great_googly_moogly on Wed, Nov 21, 2012, at 8:05 AM

70 MPH

-- Posted by For Liberty on Wed, Nov 21, 2012, at 8:27 AM

I have driven it to Washington from Bloomfield the past three days. It is very nice. Cuts 10 minutes off the trip. Not much traffic on it...yet.

-- Posted by 0123 on Wed, Nov 21, 2012, at 10:16 AM

What in the world do Carlos Diaz and David Boudia have to do with I-69? Let's hear from people whose dreams, memories and futures were squashed when I-69 ran right through their land, farms and homes.

-- Posted by tracy.crowe1 on Wed, Nov 21, 2012, at 4:12 PM

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