BLOOMINGTON -- After more than three years and $471 million, all it took was Gov. Mike Pence to drive through a ribbon draped across section four of I-69. The new interstate links U.S. 231 to State Road 37 south of Bloomington.
Community leaders, mayors, legislators and transportation officials celebrated the grand opening near Crane. Pence says the interstate is the result of partnerships over the past 11 years.
“One administration with strong support in the legislature, one administration found the money another administration poured the concrete,” he says.
Naval Support Activity Crane Executive Officer Patrick Wiegleb says the interstate will improve travel time for the center’s 6,000 personnel and improve the safety and efficiency of the large number of trucks carrying ammunition.
Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke says the people there are elated this additional 27 mile stretch of interstate is open.
“They were promised a new interstate that’s going to come to Evansville and connect to the rest of the state, it’s going to be open really soon. Forty years later it’s opening.”
INDOT spokesperson Will Wingfield says motorists should expect delays as finishing touches are completed and as section five from Bloomington to Martinsville is being constructed.
“They are moving on an aggressive schedule because their payments are tied to completion of those things so obviously they have a built in motivation the way the contract’s structured to move quickly,” Wingfield says.
Section five from Bloomington to Martinsville is on schedule to be complete by the end of 2016.