Has the preferred alternative been identified?
Yes, the Central Alternative is the preferred route for the proposed I-69 Ohio River Crossing. There are two preferred alternatives with different tolling options in the DEIS published December 14, 2018. Central Alternative 1A would toll both the I-69 bridge and the remaining US 41 bridge. Central Alternative 1B would toll only the I-69 bridge.
What are the preferred alternatives from the DEIS?
The Central Alternative is the preferred route for the proposed I-69 Ohio River Crossing. There are two preferred alternatives with different tolling options. Central Alternative 1A would toll both the I-69 bridge and the remaining US 41 bridge. Central Alternative 1B would toll only the I-69 bridge.
The tolling options are the only difference between Central Alternative 1A and Central Alternative 1B. Both include a new 4-lane I-69 bridge and retain one US 41 bridge for local traffic. Both include 11.2 miles of new interstate, with the construction of 8.4 miles of I-69 on new location 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 Alternatives 1A or 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 Alternatives 1A and 1B are the preferred alternatives 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 happens next?
The public and affected agencies can provide comments about Central Alternatives 1A and 1B at public hearings in both states and via several other communications channels through February 8, 2019. The decision on whether to recommend Central Alternative 1A or Central Alternative 1B (whether to toll the US 41 bridge) will be based on continuing financial analysis, federal grant availability and comments received on the DEIS. Once a decision is reached, the public and agencies will be notified prior to publication of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD).
What’s the timeline for the project?
A preferred alternative was identified in December 2018 in the DEIS. Public hearings were held in Henderson on January 7 and Evansville January 8 to solicit feedback on the DEIS. The FEIS and ROD are expected by late 2019.
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 1A or 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.