Homeowner, grocery manager react to plans for I-69 from Indy to Martinsville

"I've run the deli for 21 years," Hampton's Market manager Shannon Hoover said Feb. 9, 2018. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The final piece of the I-69 expansion project from Indy to Evansville is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Indiana Department of Transportation has released a Final Environmental Impact Statement. It’s 1,700 pages and affirms the route — State Road 37 from Martinsville to Indy — a 26-mile stretch. Construction is set to begin in 2020 and wrap in 2027.

It also gives INDOT the green light to use federal funding. We talked to people in Johnson County, who gave the project mixed reviews.

Frank Foreman is full of faith. It’s not just alliteration, it’s how Foreman lives his life. He turned to God three years ago when buying his home.

“I prayed about it and was looking for a house over here, one that I could afford and a decent house, and found this one,” he said.

Foreman thought his prayers were answered when he found a home at a good price. It was built in the 1960s but remodeled.

“I just liked it. It’s almost a new home. Put new windows in it. Clean the bricks. Put a coating on it. Nice place,” Foreman said.

Then INDOT came along with talks of expanding I-69. Section 6 of the multibillion-dollar project would include 10 interchanges, 13 overpasses and underpasses and construction on 18 miles of local-access roads.

One interchange would go at Smith Valley Road in Greenwood. Foreman’s house would likely be torn down.

Down street is Hampton’s Market.

“I’ve run the deli for 21 years. Everything down there is hot and fresh,” manager Shannon Hoover said.

Hampton’s is cooking up a different perspective. The local grocery has been around since the 1970s. They see the expansion as a business opportunity.

“As far as business goes, any traffic we can get in here is always a plus for us,” Hoover said.

But, despite which side of the road you’re on, the project seems to be moving full speed ahead.

As for Foreman, he’s still full of faith. “Such is life. You just do what you have to do and trust the Lord. He’ll take care of it.”