Has the preferred alternative been identified?
The DEIS identified two preferred alternatives: Central Alternative 1A and Central Alternative 1B. The route, bridge location and lane configuration were identical for the two alternatives. Both include a new four-lane I-69 bridge and retain one US 41 bridge. The only difference was the tolling scenario.
Following additional analysis and feedback received following the DEIS process, the states have selected Central Alternative 1B, which tolls only the I-69 bridge, as the single preferred alternative.
What is the preferred alternative?
Central Alternative 1B, which tolls only the I-69 bridge, is the preferred alternative. Central Alternative 1B 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 and at existing US 41 south of Henderson between Van Wyk Road and Kimsey Lane.
What factors determined that Central Alternative 1B is the preferred alternative?
Selecting the preferred 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
- Lowest financial impact on environmental justice populations
What happens next?
Now that the preferred alternative has been identified, the Project Team will work toward publishing the FEIS and receiving a Record of Decision (ROD) in 2021.
When could right-of-way acquisition begin?
Right-of-way acquisition would not begin until the environmental review is complete and funding is available, and dependent on the FHWA publishing a ROD.
What’s the expected cost of the project?
With a total cost estimated at $1.497 billion (year-of-expenditure dollars), Central Alternative 1B is the lowest-cost option. This total cost includes roadway and bridge operations and maintenance for 35 years following completion of construction.
How will the project be funded?
Currently, the only option to fund the project is through the financial capacity of toll revenue generated by the project and supplemented by the states’ traditional programs. The states will continue financial analysis and seek federal grant opportunities to try to reduce the revenue needed from tolls and funds needed from the states’ traditional programs.
Hasn’t this process been completed before?
A DEIS was completed in 2004, with a preferred alternative identified for a new I-69 Ohio River Crossing just east of Henderson. No funding source was identified and an FEIS and ROD were never issued. Since then, Indiana and Kentucky have improved more than 260 miles of the I-69 corridor to interstate standards. The new crossing will be the final connection.