On July 16, 2008, Evansville Deputy Mayor Steve Schaefer — who was vice president of public policy for the Chamber of Commerce of Southwest Indiana at the time — witnessed the groundbreaking of the Evansville portion of Interstate 69. Now, the proposed I-69 Ohio River Crossing is the next step in completing the interstate corridor.
“The new crossing is not simply a new bridge, but a statement that southwest Indiana is open for business,” says Schaefer.
The proposal involves two preferred alternatives — Central Alternative 1A and 1B. Both link Indiana’s and Kentucky’s I-69 to each other via a new bridge over the Ohio and feature new interchanges at Veterans Memorial Parkway in Evansville and U.S. Highway 60 and U.S. Highway 41 in Henderson, Kentucky. The Central Alternative 1A would toll both the I-69 and the existing U.S. Highway 41 bridges while 1B would only toll I-69.
The Final Environmental Impact Statement, identifying one preferred alternative, and Record of Decision, confirming the selected alternative, are expected to be completed this year.
“When complete, I-69 will be a new interstate corridor that will eventually connect Michigan to Texas,” says project spokesperson Mindy Peterson. “This is a project that will improve connectivity.”
While Indiana and Kentucky are both committed, Peterson says the project schedule will be determined by funding availability. For now, the team will continue to keep the public informed.
“The project team remains hard at work to make this much-discussed bridge a reality, and it’s exciting to play a small role in the journey,” she says.