(BLOOMINGTON) - A hotly debated section of the Interstate 69 extension was added back to Monroe County's transportation plan by a close vote on Friday.
The Policy Committee of the Bloomington/Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization met before a packed room to discuss adding the 1.75-mile section of the highway to the county's plan.
Last May, the panel approved a revised local transportation plan that omitted the section, citing concerns that included how it would be funded and the project's environmental impact.
State officials said if the panel didn't add the section back to the plan, it could endanger $25 million in federal money for Bloomington road projects.
The panel begrudgingly approved the addition Friday by an emotional 7-6 vote, RTV6's Tanya Spencer reported.
Residents Christine Glaser and Mary Ann William said they were against the construction plan.
"We still have some irons in the fire. One of them is a lawsuit. There's a lawsuit going on. The other is the money. I really am not convinced that the money will be there to build it all the way," Glaser said.
"I'm disappointed, but it may not be completely over yet. I think this dialogue needs to continue. I think we can all get something. We can all get what we want and need. We just need more time," William said.
Two of the contracts for the work have already been awarded, and construction is expected to begin in the spring. All of the contracts will be awarded by October.
Jim Starks with the Indiana Department of Transportation was confident that the construction would begin soon.
"There's a pretty tight schedule to work with,and I don't think we'll have any issues getting there," Starks said.
The I-69 extension to State Road 37 south of Bloomington is expected to be completed by 2014.
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