(EVANSVILLE) - As motorists in Southwest Indiana increasingly use the newly opened stretch of Interstate 69, police have shifted their patrols accordingly.
Officers say traffic in the region has moved from old routes to the first section of the I-69 extension that opened Nov. 19. The road is slated to eventually run from Evansville to Indianapolis.
Gibson County Sheriff George Ballard said that when he traveled Indiana 57 last week, the road was almost deserted.
"The things that were happening on Highway 57 are now probably happening on Interstate 69. There is very little traffic on 57 now," Ballard told the Evansville Courier & Press.
Authorities in the region say they've had no problems staffing patrols of the new I-69 section that runs from Gibson County to near the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center southwest of Bloomington.
The Indiana State Police's Evansville district covers the new interstate in Gibson and Pike counties.
"It's not been difficult to patrol I-69," spokesman Sgt. Todd Ringle said. "It hasn't caused it any trouble or anything like that."
The post is scheduled to add two new troopers early in 2013, he said. Both will be assigned to Pike County.
Ringle said state police routinely work with other agencies to ensure patrols on all state and federal roadways are adequate.
"Communication is always there," he said. "In southwestern Indiana, we all work together."
State police Sgt. Chad Dick, a spokesman for the Jasper post, said troopers have simply added the new stretch of road to their patrols without any staffing issues. So far, he said, the traffic flow from Washington to Crane has been light.
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