FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the I-69 Ohio River Crossing Project?
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) are committed to providing a critical link between the two states’ I-69 corridors and constructing a new I-69 Ohio River Crossing between Evansville and Henderson.
What is the purpose and need of the project?
The purpose and need of the project is to complete the I-69 connection between Indiana and Kentucky, improve long-term cross-river mobility for the area, reduce congestion and delay, and improve safety.
Has the preferred alternative been identified?
The FEIS identifies Central Alternative 1B Modified, which tolls only the I-69 bridge, as the selected alternative. Central Alternative 1B Modified includes a new four-lane I-69 bridge and retains one US 41 bridge for local traffic. It includes 11.2 miles of new interstate, with the construction of 8.4 miles of I-69 on new terrain and upgrades to 2.8 miles of existing US 41 to meet interstate standards. New interchanges would be added at:
- Existing I-69 in Indiana
- US 60 in Kentucky
- Existing US 41 south of Henderson between Van Wyk Road and Kimsey Lane
What factors determined that Central Alternative 1B Modified is the selected alternative?
Identifying the selected alternative was a multi-step process that included leadership in both states, the community, and state and federal agencies. Central Alternative 1B is the preferred alternative for the following reasons:
- Fewest residential relocations
- No commercial relocations
- Fewest impacts to the following resources:
- Linear feet of streams
- Forested habitat and potential habitat for the federally endangered Indiana bat and federally threatened northern long-eared bat
- Managed lands
- Section 4(f) resources including publicly owned parks, recreation areas, wildlife and water fowl refuges, or public and private historic properties
- Sites with recognized environmental conditions, such as hazardous substances or petroleum products
- Cross-river route redundancy for the region
- Lowest total cost
What changes have been made to the project since the publication of the DEIS? Why is the selected alternative “Modified”?
We now have a single preferred alternative – Central Alternative 1B Modified, a modified version of Central Alternative 1B.
The I-69 alignment has not changed from the DEIS. Like Central Alternative 1B, only the new I-69 crossing would be tolled. It is called “modified” due to design refinements, primarily at the project’s interchanges. The refinements were included to address comments received, improve operations, and reduce project costs, making the project more financially feasible.
The designs shown in the FEIS are preliminary and subject to changes and refinements in the final design process. Design will begin for Section 1 in 2022 after selection of a Design-Build Team.
What’s the expected cost of the project?
Central Alternative 1B Modified is the lowest-cost option. Construction has been separated into Sections 1 and 2. The total estimated construction costs are $237 million for Section 1 and $975 million for Section 2 (year of expenditure). This total cost includes roadway and bridge operations and maintenance for 35 years following completion of construction.
What happens now that the environmental process is over?
Now that FHWA issued the ROD, Indiana and Kentucky are moving forward with detailed design plans, right-of-way appraisals and land purchases, the procurement process and construction.
What is the plan for tolling?
The new I-69 bridge will be tolled. After receiving public comment on the DEIS and developing a financial plan for the project, INDOT and KYTC determined that the existing US 41 bridge would not be tolled.
Why is tolling necessary to help fund the project?
Toll revenue is needed to cover debt service for the project, capital costs, and operations and maintenance of the project. Currently, the only funding source to fill the gap is from the states’ traditional programs through direct funding and/or financing.
When will a decision be made on tolling rates and who makes that decision?
A bi-state body will be created to develop toll policy (including toll rates) before construction begins. The FEIS and ROD inform the bi-state body of impacts and commitments associated with the implementation of tolls.
Why is the future of the US 41 bridges being discussed as part of this project?
Improving long-term cross-river mobility between Evansville and Henderson must include a discussion of the US 41 bridges. One bridge is more than 80 years old and the other is more than 50 years old, and maintenance costs are high. Indiana and Kentucky have spent more than $50 million on maintenance costs on the US 41 bridges since 2005. A report on the US 41 bridges finds it would cost an estimated $293 million to maintain the two bridges through 2062.
Which US 41 bridge will remain in service?
Due to its historic significance and serviceable condition, the northbound US 41 will be retained for two-way traffic.
What will happen to the southbound US 41 bridge that is removed from service?
A marketing plan will be undertaken to determine if there is any group or agency that would be willing and able to maintain and preserve the bridge. If there are no such groups or agencies found, the bridge would be demolished after construction of the I-69 bridge.
Would the states consider using the old bridge for bicycle or pedestrian facilities?
Because of the large expense to maintain the aging bridge, the small number of potential users and the lack of master planning for such facilities, current plans do not include maintaining one of the US 41 bridges for cyclists and pedestrians.
During the development of the project, the City of Henderson and Henderson County were offered the opportunity to assume ownership and responsibility of the bridge for this purpose, but each declined. Letters were also sent to Vanderburgh County and the City of Evansville encouraging them to contact Henderson and Henderson County if they wanted to discuss a possible partnership about the bridge.