MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Construction crews have continued inching northward in building the Interstate 69 extension stretch between Bloomington and Martinsville in central Indiana.
Much of the work in the 21-mile section involves upgrades and repairs to the four-lane Indiana 37 roadway that the I-69 route is following between the two cities.
The section remains on track for completion by the end of 2016, state highway department spokesman Will Wingfield told The Herald-Times.
“Because it’s an existing road that’s being upgraded, some of the existing pavement, the existing bridges are being rehabilitated or resurfaced as the road is converted to Interstate 69,” he said. “In addition, the developer’s building access roads and rehabbing bridges, building new bridges and doing the work that’s needed to take a four-lane road with traffic signals and convert it to an interstate.”
The first half of the Evansville-to-Indianapolis I-69 extension opened in 2012, and runs for 67 miles from near Evansville at Interstate 64 to near the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center southwest of Bloomington. The state highway department expects to open a 27-mile section north from Crane into Bloomington late this year.
Work on the Indiana 37 section has been complicated by the need for contractors to not reduce speed limits on days when heavy traffic is expected into Bloomington, such as for an Indiana University home football game.
“The difference between 45 and 60 mph can be significant enough that it can help move traffic on those heavy volume days,” Wingfield said. “It’s progressing very well. They’re working on a very aggressive schedule.”
The route and funding for completion of the I-69 extension’s final leg from Martinsville to Indianapolis is uncertain.
State officials are considering five alternatives for the final segment, and three public meetings will be held in late November or early December in Martinsville, Mooresville and Indianapolis. An environmental document the highway department expects to publish in early 2017 will recommend one preferred route for the final leg.