September 16, 2011

Steve Walls of the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) made a presentation to the Greater Martinsville Chamber of Commerce on September 16 concerning progress toward an extension of Interstate 69 (I-69) that surely will have significant impact on economic development in Morgan County.

He was accompanied in his remarks by David Goffinet of Bernardin, Lochmueller and Associates Inc., an Evansville engineering firm.

Walls reported that the proposed corridor for the Evansville-to-Indianapolis extension was defined by the federal government in 2004.  The route was later challenged in court, but the challenge was unsuccessful. Walls predicted the completed route will be an economic bonanza for virtually every community along the entire route, especially in creation of long-standing jobs.


“The road is coming, and it’s not going to stop until it gets to Indianapolis and ties into I-69,” Walls said.  “Our goal is that the roadway will be open for your travel from Highway 37 from Bloomington to Evansville in 2014.”   He said several governors have indicated a need for the extension and only Governor Mitch Daniels was able to pull it off.

The route roughly coincides with Indiana State Road 57 northeast from I-64 to US 50 at Washington where it passes by that town to the east and extends north to US 231 and the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center and then on to Bloomington.

Three sections of the route, starting in Evansville, are now completed.  Work on

Section 4, which runs from Crane to Bloomington, is continuing and will enter Monroe County from the south.  Meanwhile, Section 5, which extends from Monroe County to just south of Martinsville, is in the planning stage.  Planning for Section 6, from Martinsville to Indianapolis, will begin by the fall of 2013.

Walls said that INDOT hopes to have a “record of decision” from the Federal Highway Administration for Section 5 (the Bloomington to Martinsville sector) by the fall of 2013.

Such a record is tantamount to guaranteeing funding for the project.  It allows the state to begin buying land, awarding contracts and start construction.  The go-ahead, of course, will hinge on getting a successful study of the environmental impact of the project, but the construction is expected to take two years.

Walls was unable to suggest when Martinsville property owners might begin receiving offers for their properties.  He also said it is too early to know where Martinsville interchanges might be located.


Construction of Sections 5 and 6 will generally follow the four-lane design of Highway 37, but some modifications will be essential to bring it up to standard for an interstate.

As those sections are in the planning stage, Walls said he and other INDOT officials will be carrying on extensive conversations with area business and civic leaders and residents to receive all their input and observations.

Providing an update on an INDOT project to reconstruct the Indiana 39 bridge over White River in Martinsville, Goffinet said the project – plus reconfiguring the

Indiana 39/Indiana 67 intersection – is on schedule.

Both speakers called attention to an INDOT website now available to report progress on the I-69 extension.  The address is:  www.i69indyevn.org.

Walls also said he is available to respond to calls and e-mails. He can be reached by telephone at 812-334-8869 or by e-mail at swalls@indot.in.us


** Executive Summary courtesy of Morgan County Economic Development Corporation