I-69 Bridgelink board makes I-69 crossing recommendation - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

I-69 Bridgelink board makes I-69 crossing recommendation

(WFIE) (WFIE)
EVANSVILLE AND HENDERSON (WFIE) -

Where to put the I-69 corridor bridge over the Ohio River? Five choices were recently knocked down to three.

Now, a panel of more than a dozen elected officials, business owners, and local leaders have chosen their favorite option. They're a group called BridgeLink.

The central corridor was the one that Bridgelink recommended. The other two remaining options are west corridor one and west corridor two.

The group believes the central corridor option would save money.

BridgeLink also says the route could allow for continued use of the Twin Bridges. Members cite worries over a disaster imagining the economic impact in both Indiana and Kentucky if the single bridge were to get damaged in such an event.

“From a business perspective, if you lose where you conduct business, that is really tough because I don't know where I would go? Where would I find another 10 or 11 acres on this kind of location to build a dealership?" Henderson Chevrolet owner Ron Faupel said.

The project office said recommendations are exactly what they want.

“It's premature to say if the central corridor is the preferred alternative. Do we know what will happen to the Twin Bridges? No, but we will, and we expect to have that preferred alternative by fall of 2018,” project spokesperson Mindy Peterson told 14 News.

Funding is a critical component to keep the work moving forward.

Bridgelink said they're in favor of tolling on a new I-69 bridge, but they'd like to see free local travel across the Twin Bridges.

“The last thing we want to do is have all of this work be done and then get stuck because we can't find a way to move this project forward and fund this project,” Peterson added.

Here is the letter from BridgeLink:

This letter was sent to Janelle Lemon, Project Manager of the I-69 Ohio River Crossing.

The undersigned members of the board of directors for 69 BridgeLink, encompassing members from both Evansville and Henderson, are submitting this letter to encourage the use of central corridor 1 as the route for the I-69 Ohio River Crossing project.

Members of the board of directors for 69 BridgeLink, from Evansville and Henderson, encourage the use of Central Corridor 1 as the route for the I-69 Ohio River Crossing project.

The BridgeLink board has sought to make this project a reality in the timeliest and fiscally feasible manner possible. We have shown that Central Corridor 1 has a significant cost savings from the original route laid out in the Draft Environmental Statement of 2004 by cutting down on the number of miles of new terrain needed for the project and the need for fewer interchanges.

This route also allows for the continued use of the current Twin Bridges. The 69 BridgeLink Board feels this additional option of travel between Indiana and Kentucky is a critical safety and social need. Should a disaster strike and one of both of the Twin Bridges falls out of use, the economic impact on the region would be devastating to both states.

We also would encourage the use of tolling as a key piece to the funding of this project while keeping a free route for local travel. Tolling is a key piece to funding a project of this size and we are ready to help make the case for it. We do, however, feel that allowing local traffic to cross the Twin Bridges for free is critical to making the case for tolling the new I-69 bridge.
As this process continues, we appreciate and look forward to further opportunities to advocate in favor of this project. Should you have any questions, please contact (contact information included).

Board members of 69 BridgeLink

(Robert Koch, Dr. John Logan,Brad Schneider; Lloyd Winnecke, Robby Mills, Steve Austin, Christy Gillenwatter, Tony Iriti, Lee Lingo, Evan Beck, Bill Corum, Barry Cox, Brad Ellsworth, Ron Faupel, Joel Hopper, Robert Jones, Chris Melton, Jeff Mulzer, Pete Paradossi, C. Michael Schopmeyer, Chris Traylor)

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