Home » OPINION: BridgeLink commends recommendation of Central Corridor 1 placement for I-69 bridge

OPINION: BridgeLink commends recommendation of Central Corridor 1 placement for I-69 bridge

HENDERSON, Ky. — The BridgeLink Board of Directors, an advocacy group comprised of elected, civic and business leaders in Southwest Indiana and Western Kentucky who are committed to the construction of the I-69 Bridge between Evansville, In., and Henderson, Ky., has commended the recommendation of Central Corridor 1 for the placement of a new I-69 bridge. This location has proven to be the best location for economic development, cross-river mobility, ease of traffic congestion, and minimal negative local impacts.

“A new I-69 bridge is critical to the success of I-69 corridor, through Indiana, Kentucky, and nationwide,” said BridgeLink Chair Robert Koch. “Our two states have been leaders in the effort to construct a completed national corridor.”

Central Alternative 1 includes a four-lane I-69 bridge and retains the northbound US 41 bridge for local traffic. It includes new interchanges at US 41 (south end), US 60 and Veterans Memorial Parkway. BridgeLink will continue to advocate to keep both US41 spans open to traffic.

The recommendation has two alternatives that the States could pursue. Central Alternative 1A includes tolls on both the new I-69 bridge and the US41 bridge, while Central Alternative 1B only tolls the new I-69 bridge.

While the state DOT’s study indicates that tolling will likely be necessary to pay for the new I-69 bridge, the members of BridgeLink will work diligently to keep the US 41 bridges free for local traffic.

“Keeping US 41 toll-free for our local traffic is imperative to the success of our people and businesses,” said Henderson Mayor Steve Austin. “I-69 is a true benefit for our communities when the project recognizes the difference in interstate and local traffic.”

The states of Indiana and Kentucky have worked diligently to make the I-69 river crossing a reality, and the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement by our two state departments of transportation is a critical step required to move to construction of this important link.

According to the joint Indiana-Kentucky studies of the need for the bridge, the location of the existing bridges is home to several high-crash locations. In addition, studies found that the existing infrastructure “strains to efficiently handle the cross-river volume of traffic”. With the construction of the new I-69 bridge, we will have relief from the safety issues and prevalent congestion found around the US41 bridges.

“The construction of this bridge is vital to Evansville and our future,” said Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winneke. “We have seen improved connectivity to the rest of the state with the construction of I-69, and this cross-river mobility will open our connectivity to the south.”

“Henderson and all of western Kentucky will see tremendous benefit with this new bridge, and I thank the states for their commitment to see its construction,” said Henderson County Judge-executive Brad Schneider.

BridgeLink will participate in the Public Hearings scheduled in January 2019. The schedule is:

• Jan. 7, 2019 at the Henderson Community College
• Jan. 8, 2019 at the Old National Events Plaza, Locust Meeting Rooms

The Final Environmental Impact Study is expected to be completed in the fall of 2019, and construction could begin within several years after.