The history of Interstate 69 - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

The history of Interstate 69

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Construction began in December of 2007 on the first section between Interstate 64 and State Road 64 near Oakland City. Construction began in December of 2007 on the first section between Interstate 64 and State Road 64 near Oakland City.
GIBSON CO., IN (WFIE) -

The 67 mile stretch of Interstate 69 is now open all the way to US 231.

The history of I-69 in southern Indiana dates back to the 1970s. The superhighway extended as far south as Indianapolis with the grand plan to link Canada and Mexico through the American heartland.  

A route was finally selected to take I-69 south through Bloomington to Crane and to Evansville. Funds from the lease of the Indiana Toll Road put the project in high gear.

Construction began in December of 2007 on the first section between Interstate 64 and State Road 64 near Oakland City.

In the summer of 2008, Governor Mitch Daniels presided over an indoor groundbreaking at The Centre in downtown Evansville complete with a mini movie and dirt from the actual construction site. There were environmental protestors.

"The governor's having a celebration of destruction today and we think it's scandalous," said Sondra Tokarski, who's against I-69.

But, the show went on.

"Let the rest of America erode if they will. Let them deteriorate if they haven't the guts or the imagination to do what we did. In Indiana, we are building and we are going to have a great future," said Governor Daniels. 

We were told I-69 would cut travel time from Evansville to Indy by 30 minutes. Economists believe the route will generate billions in extra revenue for the region.

As for the funding, Daniels said, "We'll get there you know, but this makes the road inevitable and we have the funds in the bank."

With money from the Toll Road lease work continued ahead of schedule and just last month, a day of celebration along the soon to be opened route from Evansville to Crane.

"A lot of people fought it. And a lot of people were pushing for it, and they won. It's gonna be an asset to the community and hopefully to southern Indiana," said Gibson County resident Bob Zazadry.

On Tuesday, Governor Daniels says the new interstate means a safer commute, and it's a business boost. He thanked those who made the new roadway possible.

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