(UNDATED) - A section of new pavement is now open for traffic at the U.S. 231/State Road 58 interchange as part of the I-69 construction project.
Indiana Department of Transportation district spokesperson Cher Elliott reports the new pavement is not actually I-69, but temporary pavement to be used until I-69 is opened.
The new section runs from near the NSA Crane gate and links up with U.S. 231 near what is known as the "Time Oil Junction." It was opened this past weekend.
Elliott said there are no plans to open any other small sections like this along the I-69 corridor.
"At this time, we will not open any portion of the I-69 corridor until all of it from Evansville to Crane is ready for traffic. That date is December of 2012," Elliott told the Greene County Daily World.
She reports that construction on Section 3, which ends near the U.S. 231/State Road 58 interchange, is moving along well.
Some sections have had the new pavement laid. Segments 8 and 9 from CR 100 to North Fork Prairie Creek (Daviess County) is one of those with some pavement down and is currently 55 percent complete.
Segments 10 and 11 from North Fork Prairie Creek to CR 1400N (Daviess County) also has some mainline pavement down and is also approximately 55 percent complete.
Segments 12 and 13 (Daviess and Greene County) from CR 1400N to US 231 interchange is approximately 35 percent complete overall, she said.
Elliott pointed out that work on Section 4 from U.S. 231 through eastern Greene County continues on different levels.
The first construction contract was awarded in October. INDOT awarded the contract to Crider and Crider, Inc. of Bloomington for the first segment in Section 4 in Greene and Monroe counties.
The winning bid of $26,883,500 was 20 percent below the engineer's estimate, Elliott pointed out.
This 4.6 mile contract is the beginning of construction in Section 4 and begins just east of the new U.S. 231 and I-69 interchange and stretches to Taylor Ridge Road. Section 4, which connects with the existing four-lane State Road 37 on the south side of Bloomington, is scheduled to open to traffic by the end of 2014.
Sections 1-3 run from I-64 to U.S. 231 near Crane. Section 4 goes from U.S. 231 to S.R. 37, just south of Bloomington. Sections 5 and 6 would complete the route to I-465 in Indianapolis.
Elliott said INDOT officials continue to work with the Bloomington/Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Committee (MPO) to align its Transportation Improvement Plans and have construction of I-69 Section 4 added into their program.
In May, the MPO Policy Committee voted 8-3 to exclude I-69 in its Transportation Improvement Program for fiscal years 2012-15.
The vote followed several hours of testimony from the public in opposition to I-69.
In late October, representatives from the INDOT and the Federal Highway Administration met with members of the MPO subcommittee and told them that the MPO has no authority to stop INDOT from building I-69.
By not including Section 4 in its Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP), it means federal funding cannot be used on the less than two-mile stretch of Section 4 the MPO has planning jurisdiction over. INDOT can still build I-69 through Monroe County using state funding exclusively.
If the MPO does not approve a TIP through 2015 that INDOT approves of, the county would lose federal funding totaling several million dollars. That money would primary affect Bloomington Transit, which is funded greatly by federal grants.
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