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Project Team Updates Preliminary Alternatives for I-69 ORX

Project Team Updates Preliminary Alternatives for I-69 ORX

WMSK Staff

June 18th, 2018

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20180618 MATT Updated Alternatives Handout FINAL (reduced size)

Preferred alternative expected this fall

Evansville, Ind. (June 18, 2018) – The I-69 Ohio River Crossing (I-69 ORX) Project Team has updated the preliminary alternatives being considered for a new I-69 bridge and interstate connections. The updates reflect design changes and input from the public. Cost estimates and relocation numbers have also been updated.

Each alternative is expected to require a combination of toll-backed financing, traditional funds and grant opportunities to move to construction. A preferred alternative is expected to be identified by this fall.

“Public input is an important part of this project,” said Janelle Lemon, Indiana Department of Transportation project manager. “Since the open houses in February, the Project Team has continued gathering public input through additional surveys, Community Conversations and interaction during Tri-Fest. We have heard from the public and have used that feedback to further refine all three alternatives.”

Updates to Preliminary Alternatives

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) alternatives have been updated based on public input and additional engineering and environmental analyses.

West Alternative 1 and West Alternative 2
The connection between US 41 and US 60 has been modified to reduce impacts to residences and businesses.
A retaining wall has been added to avoid impacts to a small cemetery within the Merrill Place development.

West Alternative 2
The intersection of Elm Street and Watson Lane has been modified to improve safety and access in the interchange area.
Central Alternative 1
The connection between I-69 and US 41 has been modified to improve access to US 60 and the commercial strip.

“One key change is for Central Alternative 1,” said Marshall Carrier, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet project manager. “We distributed surveys to more than 900 businesses near the project area and followed up by visiting nearly 100 businesses along the US 41 strip in Henderson. Several business owners were concerned about the connection between I-69 and US 41. More design work was done, changes were made and the result is a more direct connection.”

Updated Cost Estimates

Costs are shown in year-of-expenditure dollars and reflect updated construction estimates for materials, labor and equipment costs.

Updated costs have moved from conceptual to more in-depth estimates. The higher construction costs for West Alternative 1 and West Alternative 2 reflect the complexity of construction. Right-of-way costs are also updated, based on assessed property values.

Estimates do not include the cost to finance the project or the cost to administer, operate and maintain a tolling system.

Updated Relocations

Updated relocation numbers reflect the described modifications to preliminary alternatives and confirmed numbers of residences/businesses in multiple-unit buildings.

West Alternative 1 Residential 242 Business 27
West Alternative 2 Residential 96 Business 64
Central Alternative 1 Residential 4 Business 0

Public Feedback

The Project Team held two open houses in early February to discuss the preliminary alternatives. It was the third in a series of open houses, held on both sides of the river. Since the open houses, the Project Team has received input from the public through surveys, community events and Community Conversations.

Public Survey
Surveys were mailed to nearly 4,700 residences and posted on the project website in February. The Project Team received about 600 completed surveys.

Business Survey
A business information survey was mailed to more than 900 businesses, and the Project Team visited 100 businesses along the US 41 strip in February and March. The Project Team received nearly 60 completed surveys.

Community Conversations
Six Community Conversations were held in April and early May to give residents a chance to discuss preliminary alternatives and tolling for a new I-69 bridge. The meetings were held in communities that would either be directly impacted by one of the alternatives or included concentrations of low-income or minority populations that could be affected by the project. More than 250 residents attended.

Tri-Fest
The Project Team hosted a booth at Tri-Fest in downtown Henderson in late April. About 450 people stopped by the booth during the 3-day festival to ask questions, share their thoughts and pick up project information.

Top Issues/Concerns
Most residents support tolling the new I-69 crossing if there is a toll-free crossing.
Tolling could impact residents and businesses, especially if a toll-free option is not offered.
It’s important to keep at least one US 41 bridge in service.
West Alternative 1 and West Alternative 2 directly impact too many homes and businesses.
Central Alternative 1 could negatively affect US 41 businesses with drivers bypassing US 41.

Next Steps

A preferred alternative is expected to be identified in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) published this fall. After the DEIS is published, public hearings will be held in Evansville and Henderson.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) are expected by fall 2019. The ROD allows the states, with the help of available federal funds, to move forward with design, land purchases and construction.

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Indiana and Kentucky are committed to improving the I-69 corridor by creating an I-69 Ohio River Crossing between Evansville and Henderson. The states have reinitiated a study of the I-69 corridor, required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The study is expected to be complete by fall 2019, and will identify the route, bridge location and funding solutions for a new I-69 Ohio River Crossing. Find more information at www.I69ohiorivercrossing.com.

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