Linkrot Warning: Some links here may no longer function; in particular, there are numerous links to newspaper web sites that only keep content online for a few weeks.
[Dec 21, 2003] INDOT released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for I-69 SIU 3 on Thursday, December 18, including $77 million in additional environmental mitigation to offset the impacts of the chosen route; press coverage appears in the Evansville Courier & Press, Indianapolis Star, Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette and Princeton Daily Clarion. Comments on the FEIS will be accepted through February 2, 2004. After the comment period, the FEIS will be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration for final approval.
[Dec 7] Today's Evansville Courier & Press predicts that Interstate 69 will be an issue in the 2004 Indiana governor's race, in an article by Jennifer Whitson.
[Nov 28] The Evansville Courier & Press reports that Indiana GOP gubernatorial candidate Mitch Daniels has endorsed a direct route for I-69 from Evansville to Indianapolis; however, it would deviate from the SR 37 corridor north of Martinsville, running over “new terrain” to connect to I-70 near Indianapolis International Airport.
Hernando (Miss.) residents are concerned that the proposed I-69 may encourage Wal-Mart to abandon a proposed SuperCenter in the town, according to the DeSoto Times Today.
WMC-TV Memphis, on November 18, reported that developers are planning to build a NASCAR race track in Tunica County, near the proposed Interstate 69.
[Oct 27] The Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger reports on the memorial service for Jerrell Robinson of Hernando, the man killed in the I-69 construction accident last Monday afternoon. Investigations by OSHA and MDOT into the accident continue.
The Evansville Courier & Press notes that Evansville transportation planners have concluded a western route for I-69 around the city would only carry 7000 vehicles per day and not divert much traffic from the existing U.S. 41 crossing of the Ohio River between Evansville and Henderson, Ky.; the results confirm a 2001 study by state consultants working on the I-69 SIU 4 environmental study.
Local officials should begin land-use planning for the I-69 route through Henderson, according to participants in a forum held by the Henderson Chamber of Commerce.
[Oct 23] The state of Indiana is awarding $2 million in grants to help communites along the selected Interstate 69 route with land-use and transportation planning for the highway, according to an article in today's Evansville Courier & Press. New Governor Joe Kernan also stated his support for the selected 3C corridor:
I support the selection of Route 3C as the preferred corridor for I-69 to connect Evansville with Indianapolis. The three-year study process that led to this decision has been one of the most comprehensive and public processes ever conducted on a highway project in the state of Indiana. While there has been much debate over the years about this project, I believe that the selected corridor is the best choice, given all the factors, for the state.
[Oct 21] A Hernando (Miss.) man was killed Monday when beams from an overpass being built on future Interstate 69 at U.S. 51 in Hernando fell on his car; accounts of the accident appear in Tuesday's Memphis Commercial Appeal, the DeSoto Times Today, and The Daily Mississippian.
Monday’s Commercial Appeal carried an article on proposals for two new Mississippi River crossings near Memphis that would likely tie into Interstate 69.
[Oct 19] A settlement of an eminent domain dispute involving Interstate 69 in DeSoto County was thrown out by the Mississippi Supreme Court on Friday after they ruled the appraiser's testimony was improperly admitted at trial, according to the DeSoto Times Today.
[Oct 16] The Indiana Daily Student reports that Bloomington's mayoral candidates discussed the Interstate 69 issue in their Tuesday night debate.
Meanwhile, the dynamics of the Indiana gubernatorial race may change if incumbent governor Joe Kernan enters the race; Kernan replaced late governor Frank O'Bannon, who selected the I-69 route through the state, after his sudden death last month.
[Oct 7] The Memphis Commercial Appeal editorializes on the selection of a route for Interstate 69 through the city, but fails to take any position on the merits of the proposal.
[Oct 3] Interstate 69 is becoming an issue in the Indianapolis mayoral contest, as Republican candidate Greg Jordan suggests that up to $2.2 million in property tax revenue could be lost annually if I-69 follows the Indiana 37 corridor (known as Corridor 3C) into the city. Neither Jordan nor his opponent, incumbent mayor Bart Peterson, have indicated support for any particular alternative to the INDOT-preferred 3C corridor.
[Sep 27] Plans for a western loop of Evansville have been dropped from the region's 2030 transportation plan, according to the Evansville Courier & Press. Some local officials had wanted the western loop to be built as part of Interstate 69 SIU 4, but the state seems likely to approve an eastern route instead, as it will cost less money and remove more traffic from the existing U.S. 41 bridges between Evansville and Henderson.
The Courier & Press also has an article on Indiana GOP gubernatorial hopeful Mitch Daniels, whose rather murky position on the I-69 issue has drawn criticism from highway proponents and opponents alike; his quotes in the article hardly clarify the issue, with Daniels apparently advocating a “direct route” via Bloomington that somehow enters the Indianapolis area on a route other than the “3C” preferred alternative—the alternative that follows the existing direct route from Blooomington to Indianapolis, SR 37.
[Sep 24] The DeSoto Times reports that federal, state, and regional transportation officials have agreed on a “system” approach to constructing Interstate 69 through the Memphis area. The “system” approach consists of constructing both a through-city route (I-69) and the Memphis Outer Beltway (currently designated MS 304 and TN 385, and proposed to be designated as I-269). The latter route will also facilitate a connection to proposed Interstate 22 to Birmingham. For more details, see the Memphis page or TDOT's latest newsletter [PDF]. (The September 30 edition of the Commercial Appeal carries a less detailed report.)
The Times also has a report that work on MS 304/I-69 SIU 10 (Robinsonville–Hernando, Miss) is running ahead of schedule, despite recent rains; the transportation commission currently plans to award the paving contract for the entire length of the route in early 2005.
[Sep 20] Some northern Kentucky officials are upset that I-66 and I-69 have received higher funding priority than the replacement of the I-71/75 Brent Spence Bridge linking Cincinnati to its Kentucky suburbs, according to the Kentucky edition of the Cincinnati Post. While Kentucky has extensive plans for I-66, the state's I-69 work is likely to be limited to interchange upgrades on existing parkways (I-69 SIUs 5 and 6) and the construction of a new bridge over the Ohio River near Evansville (SIU 4). A Saturday story in the Post indicates that the flap is overblown.
[Sep 14] The Michigan Department of Transportation is looking at ways to expand capacity at the Blue Water Bridge customs facility in Port Huron, according to the Port Huron Times Herald. The Blue Water Bridges are the northeastern terminus of Interstate 69 (SIU 1) and eastern terminus of Interstate 94 (SIU 27). More details on the study are here.
The September 5 Evansville Courier & Press reported that Indiana gubernatorial candidate Mitch Daniels supports a “direct route” and “building I-69 quickly and his previous concerns centered around he northern end of the route,” according to comments made at a speech in Princeton. This contrasts with Daniels’ previous statements that he was open to reviewing the route chosen by the late governor, Frank O'Bannon.
[Sep 13] Indiana Gov. Frank O'Bannon passed away Saturday morning. I69Info.com passes its condolences on to Gov. O'Bannon's family and the people of Indiana.
[Sep 11] The Evansville Courier & Press has a short article discussing the $1 million for I-69 in Indiana that was part of the House appropriations bill passed Tuesday night.
[Sep 10] The 2004 funding table has been updated with information from Senate Report 108-146, which includes funding for I-69 projects in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
[Sep 7] The Jasper (Ala.) Daily Mountain Eagle, in a report focusing on the Memphis–Birmingham freeway (Corridor X/Future I-22), indicates that officials are leaning toward plans for Interstate 69 SIU 9 to follow the MS 304/TN 385 outer loop of Memphis, rather than using the more direct routing along I-55 and I-240 through Midtown and Frayser.
[Sep 1] You can now help support I69Info.com by buying I69Info.com merchandise.
[Aug 24] I-69 construction in Tennessee starting in 2005? The state's proposed 2004–06 transportation improvement plan (STIP) includes construction funding for both SIU 7 (Dyersburg–South Fulton) and SIU 8 (Millington–Dyersburg).
[Aug 23] Dedicated funding in the next fiscal year for three sections of I-69 has been included in the House Appropriations Committee's proposal for FY2004. For more details, please see the 2004 funding page.
The U.S. 61 Clarksdale Bypass will open Monday, according to this press release from the Mississippi Department of Transportation. The $31.1 million bypass is planned to be incorporated into SIU 11 of Interstate 69.
SIU 3 (Evansville–Indianapolis, Ind.): After substantial controversy, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization has approved including the I-69 extension in its long-term transportation plan, a prerequisite for federal funding of the route. Bloomington’s MPO is expected to consider the inclusion of the route in its plan in early September. (Reports via the Evansville Courier and Press and Indiana Daily Student.)
The future of Indiana’s Crane Naval Weapons Center depends partially on the I-69 extension, according to the Linton Daily Citizen.
The Indiana Daily Student reports on a Bloomington resident who is lobbying for safer highways in southwestern Indiana, including the construction of Interstate 69.
The AP reports that environmentalists are upset that Indiana's new state map depicts the proposed route of Interstate 69, along with the planned Ohio River Bridge near Louisville and the Hoosier Heartland highway from Lafayette to Logansport.
I-69 remains an issue in the 2004 Indiana governor's race, with former Bush budget director Mitch Daniels apparently calling for a reconsideration of the route, while another Republican, David McIntosh, considers the route the “No. 1 infrastructure priority for our state,” according to the Evansville Courier and Press. Earlier reports have shown division among the Democratic contenders as well. Meanwhile, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce has come out in favor of the selected route.
The AP reports that leaders in the Lower Rio Grande Valley region are concerned about delays in planning and construction for the Interstate 69 project.
[Jun 27] The Texas Transportation Commission is soliciting competing proposals for the completion of a portion of the Trans Texas Corridor system, which would potentially complete a portion of Interstate 69 from the Lower Rio Grande Valley to the Corpus Christi area.
[Jun 20] The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has a retrospective on the construction of I-469 around the city.
[Jun 17] The DeSoto Times Today reports that an an additional $1.9 million has been released for construction of I-69 in DeSoto County, Miss. (SIU 10). Another $4 million has been released for the Great River Bridge project (SIU 12). In addition, $6.5 million has been relased for I-69 studies in Texas, according to a press release from U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.). The funding was among $693 million in discretionary grants included in the FY2003 transportation appropriations legislation.
[Updated Jun 7] INDOT has decided that Interstate 69 will pass east of Washington, thus finalizing the corridor for the Evansville-Indianapolis portion of the route (SIU 3). Media reports on the announcement appeared on June 6 in the Evansville Courier & Press, Indianapolis Star and Bloomington Herald-Times.
[Jun 5] Interstate 69 is rapidly becoming an issue of contention in Indiana's governor's race; the Bloomington Herald-Times reports that Democratic candidate Vi Simpson thinks the project has been delayed long enough, contrary to media reports that suggested she might have been considering re-evaluating the project if elected in 2004. The dustup started on May 29, when the Evansville Courier & Press published an editorial that suggested Simpson was still “struggling with the issue”; she responded in a June 1 letter to the editor. Her main challenger on the Democratic side, Joe Andrew, has what could be called an ambiguous position on the project, especially considering that INDOT already has a long-range plan comparable to those of other states, contrary to his public statements on the issue.
The Nashville Tennessean reports that U.S. Rep. John Tanner is seeking $100 million to help construct Interstate 69 in western Tennessee in the upcoming federal transportation bill.
The Associated Press indicates that the leading Democratic contenders in Indiana's gubernatorial race have unclear positions on the Interstate 69 issue in that state.
[May 5] The Memphis Commercial Appeal reports on reaction to the Mississippi 304 project in Hernando. MS 304 is SIU 10 of the Interstate 69 corridor.
[May 2] The Clarksdale Press Register reports that the city's southern bypass will be part of Interstate 69.
[May 1] Updated information on SIU 11 (Benoit–Robinsonville) is now on the Shreveport–Memphis page.
[Apr 30] Plans for a casino near French Lick, Ind., may be boosted by plans for Interstate 69 near the area, according to an article in the Evansville Courier & Press. A longer report appears in the Bloomington Herald-Times.
[Apr 28] The Associated Press reports that two anti-I-69 protestors were arrested for trespassing after trying to unfurl a banner from a crane in downtown Bloomington. Liam Mulholland, one of the protestors, is quoted as saying, “Though we are disappointed this did not work out, this is only the beginning of nonviolent actions that will be taken to stop I-69.” Bloomington has been a center for I-69 protest activity in the past decade, including vandalism and arson carried out by local members of the Earth Liberation Front. A similar report appears in the Bloomington Herald-Times.
The full Corridor 18 Special Issues Study (dated May 1997) is available at I69Texas.org.
[Apr 25] I-69 foes claim 94% of comments submitted to the state oppose the chosen route, according to the Evansville Courier & Press. The count included a large number of pre-printed comment forms from newspaper ads placed by opponents of the project. In related news, I-69 opponents plan a Saturday rally in Bloomington, according to the Bloomington Herald-Times.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Houston’s Grand Parkway is likely to be transferred to the Harris County Toll Road Authority; it is unclear how this relates (if at all) with the Trans Texas Corridor proposal, and it may affect the possibility of Interstate 69 following the parkway route. TxDOT also provides a press release detailing the plans.
The Brownsville Herald reports on plans for a new international toll bridge crossing in the Lower Rio Grande Valley region, connecting the Monterrey Autopista toll road in Mexico to U.S. 83 and the Interstate 69 corridor.
A third crossing of the Mississippi River near Memphis should tie into proposed Interstate 69 near the Tunica-DeSoto county line, according to the results of a study commissioned by the Memphis MPO, the DeSoto Times reports. MPO officials prefer a crossing in Southwest Memphis crossing Presidents Island. (The Times also has an editorial supporting a DeSoto County crossing.)
The DeSoto Times also reports on plans for the Chickasaw Trail Industrial Park in western Marshall County, which may be bisected by Interstate 69 if it takes a route that loops east of Memphis. Finally, this editorial advocates the eastern loop route to help finish Interstate 22 between Memphis and Birmingham.
[Apr 21] The Evansville Courier & Press inquires whether the reauthorization of the surface transportation bill will permit funding for the Interstate 69 extension in Indiana.
[Mar 17] I-69 foes believe public support for their position is increasing, according to the Johnson County Daily Journal. The Journal also reports on progress on finalizing the environmental impact statement for the Evansville–Indianapolis segment (SIU 3).
The Russellville (Ark.) Courier reports that the Arkansas House of Representatives has approved a bill naming the Great River Bridge (part of I-69 SIU 12) after Charles W. Dean of Cleveland, Mississippi. Similar legislation was passed by the Mississippi Legislature in 1999. (A link to the bill, House Concurrent Resolution 1011, can be found here.)
[Mar 12] Maps of the alignments being considered for SIU 13 (El Dorado–McGehee, Ark.) are now online at the official project website. Larger versions of these maps are available for inspection at public meetings this week in four Arkansas communities.
[Mar 7] The DeSoto edition of the Commercial Appeal reports on the progress on Interstate 69 in DeSoto County (SIU 10).
The DeSoto County edition of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports on U.S. Rep. Roger Wicker's Monday helicopter tour of possible I-69 routes around Memphis. Wicker favors the “Outer Loop” proposal. A similar report appears in the DeSoto Times Today, along with an editorial favoring the loop route.
[Mar 1] The Brownsville Herald reports on Friday's meeting of U.S. and Mexican officials interested in Interstate 69 in Edinburg, Texas.
[Feb 28] The Texas Department of Transportation announced today that Fluor Enterprises of Sugarland (Tex.) has proposed developing a Trans Texas Corridor section from the Lower Rio Grande Valley to north of Dallas, a portion of which might be incorporated into future Interstate 69.
[Feb 21] Jeff Piselli, Tunica County's public information officer, sent along some aerial photos of I-69 construction near Robinsonville, Mississippi.
[Feb 18] Final I-69 appropriations for FY2003 were included in House Joint Resolution 2, the Omnibus Appropriations Bill for the 2003 fiscal year.
The Evansville Courier & Press reports on the creation of a new group called “Hoosiers for I-69.”
The DeSoto edition of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports that I-69 advocates want a national commitment to constructing the highway, as opposed to the piecemeal grants that have characterized federal funding so far.
[Feb 5] The Texas I-69 Corridor Study now has a website produced by TxDOT.
The Evansville Courier & Press reports that INDOT is poised to begin alignment studies and right-of-way purchases on the I-69 corridor between Evansville and Indianapolis (SIU 3) once federal approval is in hand later this year. INDOT Commissioner J. Bryan Nicol reports that the route will be divided into six independent segments for construction, with the work spread out over 8–14 years.
[Feb 4] The Evansville Courier & Press has an editorial on the “distance argument” against the I-69 extension.
[Feb 1] A former Monroe County surveyor, Kevin Enright, claims that I-69 between Memphis and Indianapolis is “seven to ten miles longer” than a route following I-55, I-57, and I-70, according to the Evansville Courier & Press.
My own estimates (using the center of Indianapolis along the I-65/70 “eastern inner loop” and the I-40/240 Midtown interchange in Memphis) suggest that the distances are approximately equal; if Kentucky were to construct a direct connection from Eddyville to Henderson, which is unlikely (for good reason, I might add) I-69 would be significantly shorter.
The tricky thing in such an analysis is choosing the end-points. If you started in Arlington, an eastern suburb of Memphis, and ended in south Indianapolis, I-69 whould actually be quite a bit shorter. More to the point, choosing other end points significantly changes the equation; starting even a few miles south of Indianapolis, in Martinsville, I-69 becomes a clear winner. If the sole point of I-69 was to reduce travel distance from Indianapolis to Memphis, Enright's critique would be valid, but it assumes that Indianapolis and Memphis are the only points of any value on the route; indeed, that the only reason someone would take I-69 would be to get from Memphis to Indianapolis or vice versa. As it is, however, it doesn't add much to the debate; and, if anything, it provides a stronger argument against the U.S. 41/I-70 alignment through southwest Indiana than it does against a “new terrain” route via Bloomington.
[Jan 24] New TDOT commissioner Gerald Nicely will meet with I-69 proponents in Dyersburg on Tuesday. The article also indicates that there have been additional delays in planning the route for SIU 8 (Millington-Dyersburg).
[Jan 15] Members of the I-69 Mid-Continent Highway Coalition will be meeting with congressional leaders in Washington February 10–12, according to the Memphis Business Journal.
[Jan 9] Indiana Gov. Frank O'Bannon announced the preferred alternative for Interstate 69 between Indianapolis and Evansville (SIU 3) is Alternative 3C; for more details, see this report from WRTV (Indianapolis), an updated report from the Evansville Courier & Press (with links to multiple additional reports), and a press release from O'Bannon. The preferred corridor map indicates that the “Mann Road alternative” near Indianapolis has been eliminated from consideration; however, there are still multiple alternative corridors near Washington in Daviess County. The Evansville-Indianapolis page has been updated with the new information.
In related news, Terre Haute Mayor Judy Anderson says her city will not join any lawsuit against I-69. Also, a report from the Johnson County Daily Journal discusses the potential impact on homes and businesses along SR 37 south of Indianapolis.
There are a number of reports on the Indianapolis Star website as well.
The Bloomington Herald-Times is reporting that a firm is looking for cemeteries along the proposed I-69 corridors between Evansville and Indianapolis.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that a compromise has been worked out on construction of the Interstate 530 extension from Pine Bluff to Wilmar. The compromise calls for the portion of the route from Wilmar to Pinebergen to be initially constructed as a so-called “Super 2 freeway”, an undivided two-lane highway with interchanges (to be eventually upgraded to a full Interstate), while the section from Pinebergen north to existing I-530 will be built to full Interstate standards. Funding is currently only available for the section from Wilmar to AR 35 and for the Pinebergen–I-530 stretch. The Ashley County Ledger carries a similar report.
Shreveport-area leaders are mostly supportive of the proposed I-69 corridor near the city, according to the Shreveport Times.
[Dec 31, 2002] Michael Baker Inc. has released the preferred corridor for I-69 SIU 15. The linked page has a press release, preferred corridor map, and additional project information; a summary of the preferred corridor and subsequent stages can be found on the Shreveport page.
[Dec 30] The Associated Press reports that a decision on I-69 between Evansville and Indianapolis is likely to be delayed into the new year.
The AP also reports on progress on designing the Great River Bridge crossing of the Mississippi River between Arkansas and Mississippi; the design is expected to be complete by Summer 2003, but there is no construction schedule yet. The Great River Bridge is SIU 12 of Interstate 69.
[Dec 28] Dyersburg's mayor says Bill Frist's appointment as senate majority leader will help in constructing I-69.
The Brownsville Herald notes that Rio Grande Valley leaders reluctantly support new toll roads in the region; however, they still want a free I-69 along U.S. 77 and U.S. 281. The paper also reports that I-69 could be complete within ten years if it is included in the transportation reauthorization bill due in 2003.
[Dec 20] The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development will make a preferred corridor announcement for I-69 SIU 15 (Shreveport area) by December 31, according to their latest newsletter. The announcement will be made on the project's official website.
[Dec 12] The Evansville Courier & Press reports on consideration of the so-called “hybrid” route.
The Harlingen (Tex.) Valley Morning Star reports on the opening of a new interchange that is expected to be incorporated in Interstate 69.
Environmentalists and Evansville officials agree: both oppose the "hybrid" I-69 route.
[Dec 3] The Memphis Commercial Appeal contributes a "local quotes" piece to the AP report linked below.
The Indiana Daily Student reports on the Indiana I-69 debate.
[Dec 1] The Associated Press gives an overall report on the status of I-69 nationwide; the report has appeared in several dozen newspapers. For a more detailed report on progress on each segment, see the State of the Interstate.
[Nov 24] Some more DeSoto Times Today articles for a slow weekend: an article on DeSoto County's comprehensive plan and an editorial suggesting that the plan fails to provide enough commercial zones to take advantage of I-69 coming through the area.
[Nov 21] Some I-69 supporters think the so-called "hybrid" route enhances the chances for a western bypass of Evansville and Henderson, according to the Evansville Courier & Press. Meanwhile, the Gleaner reports that I-69 is the third-highest priority project for the next six-year transportation plan in Henderson.
The Harlingen Valley Morning Star and Brownsville Herald report that homeland security concerns and additional financing through the Trans Texas Corridor program could accelerate I-69 construction in Texas. (Both articles were written by the same person, but appear to be somewhat different.)
The Tunica Times includes an article suggesting that Crittenden County (Ark.) officials support the construction of a third Mississippi River crossing near the Tunica casinos, that could tie into future I-69 near Robinsonville.
[Nov 18] The AP reports that INDOT is considering whether to extend its December (self-imposed) deadline for a route decision.
[Nov 17] An EC&P editorial on the "hybrid" route proposal.
[Nov 15] Apparently yesterday's spin was inaccurate; EPA has actually proposed a new-terrain route with service to Bloomington (also see the Bloomington Herald-Times article, which is more complete). Meanwhile, Bloomington mayor John Fernandez says environmentalists' responses to the EPA letter were overblown.
U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, the new House majority leader, is calling for expedited construction of I-69.
[Nov 14] The Environmental Protection Agency's regional administrator has recommended that INDOT reconsider the U.S. 41/I-70 route for I-69, according to the Associated Press. A more thorough report appears in the Evansville Courier & Press, with INDOT Commissioner J. Bryan Nicol stating that environmentalists' claims about the EPA statement are overblown.
[Nov 8] I-69 opponents in Indiana petition-bombed the governor's office in conjunction with the end of the public comment period, according to the Associated Press. The Indiana Daily Student (Indiana University-Bloomington) also looks at the end of the comment period.
The Victoria Advocate (TX) looks at the I-69 environmental streamlining proposal in Texas.
[Nov 6] The Associated Press reports on the Thursday end of the public comment period for I-69 SIU 3 (Evansville-Indianapolis). J. Bryan Nicol of INDOT continues to promise a route decision will be made by the end of 2002.
I69Info.com Prediction: In the wake of Tuesday's elections, the return of Mississippi's Trent Lott as Senate Majority Leader may lead to greater funding and accelerated progress on I-69. Lott has considered the route a high priority project for a number of years.
[Nov 4] The Evansville Courier & Press has yet another editorial about the Evansville-Indianapolis segment.
[Nov 3] The executive director of Voices for I-69 has resigned to take a job in Florida, according to the Evansville Courier & Press.
Computer models predict the Indianapolis-Anderson-Muncie corridor along existing I-69 will become highly urbanized in the next 40 years, according to the Muncie Star Press.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced seven major projects to receive accelerated environmental review as part of a pilot program, including the environmental studies for all 13 segments of I-69 in Texas; for more details, see FHWA's pages on the program. Some critics allege the choices were politically-motivated, according to the Associated Press.
[Oct 30] The Indianapolis Star's editorial page again argued for the I-70/U.S. 41 route on Tuesday.
[Oct 26] The Associated Press reports that U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana is upset that one of the proposed routes might affect his family's farm near Indianapolis. However, according to his press secretary, the senator has no plans to block I-69 appropriations or delay the route selection process.
According to the Lafayette Advertiser, debate in the U.S. Senate race in Louisiana focused on Sen. Mary Landrieu's failure to obtain funding for I-49 and I-69, despite her presence on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
[Oct 24] New-terrain opponents plan delaying progress on a route decision, according to a prominent member of a new alliance between Bloomington and Terre Haute officials opposing a direct route. Meanwhile, new-terrain supporters in the same article (appearing in today's Evansville Courier & Press) allege the anti-I-69 forces' advertising campaign is primarily financed by out-of-state interest groups.
The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette argues that installing soundwalls in conjunction with a widening project on existing I-69 near Fort Wayne would set a bad precedent, as the residents affected by noise moved there after the highway was constructed.
[Oct 16] Traffic problems in Hernando might be fixed with the I-69 project, according to the DeSoto Appeal; however, construction of a new interchange to serve north Hernando could take years, according to MDOT officials. Meanwhile, the DeSoto Times Today discusses a proposal for a western connector bypassing downtown Hernando from I-69 to U.S. 51 south of the city, to divert traffic away from the historic square.
The EC&P comments on the latest delay tactics by I-69 opponents in Indiana.
The source of the AP report on the Texarkana Spur (mentioned below) was apparently the Shreveport Times; their version of the article has additional details, including an optimistic prediction that "people here could be hopping on I-69" within the decade.
The October 2002 newsletter for I-69 SIU 9 (Memphis) has been released on TDOT's website; the main news is a delay of the corridor public hearing until "late winter or early spring" next year. The reasons for the delay are not specified. (The inset map has also been corrected to reflect the routes of corridors B-1 and B-2 near Byhalia.)
[Oct 13] The Associated Press reports on confusion resulting from "Future I-69 Corridor" signs along the Texarkana Spur (SIU 29). This confusion is largely the result of the legislative definition of High Priority Corridor 20.
Several City Council members in Bloomington have asked for I-69 to avoid their city; however, the city's mayor, a fellow Democrat and candidate for Secretary of State, favors a route including Bloomington. Meanwhile, local and national environmental groups have launched a TV campaign focused on the state capital opposing the direct routing.
[Oct 11] An outer loop for Indianapolis? That's what one Shelbyville attorney wants for I-69, according to the Shelbyville News. Meanwhile, the Hoosier Environmental Council is at it again, according to WISH-TV (Indianapolis); a similar report appears in the EC&P.
[Oct 8] The House Appropriations Committee has released its proposed budget for FY2003 (which began October 1). For a summary of I-69-related provisions, and comparison with the Senate proposal, see the FY2003 Appropriations page.
The Bloomington Herald-Times reports results of a twelve-county survey in which a majority of respondents favored a I-69 route near Bloomington over a route via Terre Haute. An AP wire report of the story appear in the Evansville Courier & Press, while the Herald-Times includes a Monday followup, and the EC&P augments the story with reaction in Evansville and from environmentalists. Of course, the EC&P also chimes in with an editorial.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Julia Carson (D-Indianapolis) supports a route via Terre Haute, arguing that neighborhoods in southwest Indianapolis might be disrupted by a route from the south.
[Oct 4] The September issue of Evansville Business has an article about the I-69 extension.
[Oct 3] The Memphis Commercial Appeal has coverage of last week's North 2nd Street public meeting in Memphis. The proposed connector is likely to connect to I-69 north of downtown.
I've added a link to Google's new news search tool to the left-hand column.
The DeSoto Times Today reports that the I-69 feasibility study for the Memphis routing (SIU 9) is complete, but does not recommend a specific route for this segment. The paper also indicates that $2 million in additional I-69 funding has been approved for SIU 10 (Hernando-Robinsonville) by the House Appropriations Committee. (However, a final appropriations bill may not be signed into law until December or January.)
[Oct 1] According to the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, noise barriers are planned for a widening project on existing I-69 near Aboite.
The Houston Chronicle reports that a U.S. 59 widening project in Fort Bend County is expected to be pushed ahead by a year. This section of U.S. 59 is likely to be integrated into Interstate 69.
[Sep 30] The Henderson Gleaner has a brief article indicating where detailed maps for the Henderson-Evansville segment are available for public viewing, along with a graphic showing the revised corridors. Public comments on the proposed routes will be accepted through October 14. In related news, WFIE-14 has a report on the Eddyville-Henderson segment.
[Sep 26] The EC&P includes a response to its August 11 editorial supporting a route for SIU 3 via Bloomington.
[Sep 26] Greg Travis of the Association of Monroe County Taxpayers has set up a web page with arguments against an I-69 SIU 3 route via Bloomington. Their site also includes detailed topographic maps of the routes considered in western Monroe County.
[Sep 26] Opponents of a west side route for Interstate 69 near Evansville showed up in force for the public meeting held there last night, according to the Evansville Courier & Press. The preferred route around Evansville (SIU 4) is expected to be selected in 2004.
[Sep 25] A public meeting on the North 2nd Street project in Memphis was held last night; for more details, see my TN 300 page. Maps presented at the meeting suggested that if I-69 SIU 9 goes through downtown Memphis, it would have six lanes west of the TN 300/U.S. 51 interchange, and the existing TN 300/U.S. 51 interchange would be substantially rebuilt.
[Sep 25] The Evansville City Council has halved its $30,000 contribution to Voices for I-69, a pro-new-terrain group, in the 2003 budget, according to the Evansville Courier & Press. The EC&P also notes that construction of I-69 is not in the state's upcoming construction plans, although that would change upon completion of environmental studies for SIU 3. The article also outlines INDOT's plans to include more of the effects of transportation projects on humans, complementing the environmental aspects already studied.
The Henderson Gleaner looks at the plans for I-69 SIU 5. A study is in progress to determine whether it is feasible to upgrade the Pennyrile and Western Kentucky parkways, constructed in the 1960s with full access control, to modern Interstate standards.
The Bolivar Commercial previews public meetings on the draft EIS for SIU 12 (McGehee-Benoit); the preferred alternative is to follow the route of the already-approved Great River Bridge crossing of the Mississippi River.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal notes that the Memphis Regional Chamber of Commerce is seeking authorization of $8 billion in the new six-year transportation bill for construction of Interstate 69. TEA-21, the previous transportation, authorized funding for design and limited construction of the route, including $100 million for the Southeast Arkansas I-69 Connector (SIU 29). By way of comparison, the Central Artery/Tunnel project in Boston ("Big Dig") will have cost twice that much upon completion.
The DeSoto Times Today also reports on McIngvale Interchange, along with word from MDOT's district engineer that the preferred alternative in the SIU 9 study is expected to be identified in about 9 months, while SIU 10 is expected to open in 2006. The paper also reports that DeSoto County plans to limit large developments to the area north of proposed I-69/Highway 304.
[Sep 19] I added a section to the Evansville-Indianapolis page with the contact information for making recorded comments on the DEIS.
[Sep 14] TDOT has posted an updated status document for I-69 SIU 7 (Dyersburg-South Fulton). The FEIS was approved by FHWA and design work is proceeding on all five new-location sections of the route in Obion County; design public hearings are expected in Spring/Summer 2003.
[Sep 14] The Henderson Gleaner looks at upcoming "emergency" I-69 meetings in Henderson and Evansville for SIU 4. According to the Gleaner, route corridors have been narrowed to 1000 feet (from the previous 2000 feet) and have been reworked to avoid impacts to public recreation facilities and historical landmarks. The new corridors will be presented on maps at a 1:12000 (1 in=1000 ft) scale, instead of the 1:48000 (1 in=4000 ft) scale presented at the last meeting.
[Sep 8] The Evansville Courier & Press looks at INDOT Commissioner Nicol's optimism that the I-69 planning process in Indiana may be drawing to a close.
[Sep 4] Today's Henderson Gleaner includes an article about planning for I-69 SIU 5 between Henderson and Eddyville. The studies are focusing on the corridors following the existing Pennyrile/Breathitt and Western Kentucky/Wendell Ford parkways in the area.
[Sep 4] The Associated Press reports that INDOT Commissioner J. Bryan Nicol expects a final route for I-69 SIU 3 (Indianapolis-Evansville) to be announced by the end of the year, after nearly 60 years of discussion and studies of a high-speed Indianapolis-Evansville route.
[Sep 1] TDOT's August 2002 SIU 9 (Memphis) newsletter has arrived, with news that the Draft Environmental Impact Statement was submitted to FHWA at the end of July; a corridor public hearing is anticipated in the fall. In somewhat related news, a public meeting for the Memphis North 2nd Steet connector (TN 300 extension) is planned for September 24.
[Sep 1] The public meetings in Indiana for SIU 3 (Indianapolis-Evansville) have come and gone, with a lot of smoke but not a lot of illumination, and not much evidence that anyone cares what the other side has to think. For a sampling, read the Evansville Courier & Press's account of the meeting in Bloomington, or the discussion at HoosierTalk.
[Aug 1] Jeff Carlyle of KentuckyRoads.com passed along the URL of the strategic corridor planning study for I-69 SIU 5 (Eddyville-Henderson, Kentucky). I-69 is expected to follow existing parkways (former toll roads with full access control) along this segment.
[Aug 1] Terre Haute is off the I-69 route in Indiana, according to the Evansville Courier & Press and the full Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Additional coverage appears in the Indianapolis Star and Bloomington Herald-Times. In addition, the EC&P reports on I-69 progress elsewhere in the country.
[Jul 18] The Memphis Commercial Appeal includes an AP wire story on the SIU 11 (Benoit-Robinsonville) meetings.
[Jul 17] The Bolivar Commercial reports on the Interstate 69 public meeting in Cleveland last night, which presented three potential corridors. Those corridors are illustrated on this map [1.9 MB PDF] released by the project planning team. More details on the Memphis-Shreveport page.
[Jul 16] The Bolivar Commercial has some coverage of the SIU 11 meetings in the Mississippi Delta.
[Jul 12] The I-69 SIU 3 (Evansville-Indianapolis) draft environmental impact statement will be released in the next few weeks, according to InDOT Commissioner Bryan McNichol in an interview with the Bedford Times-Mail.
[Jul 10] A brief article in Tuesday's DeSoto Times Today looks at some local roads being relocated to accomodate the I-55/I-69 interchange in DeSoto County.
[Updated Jul 1] Delta Regional Authority federal co-chairman Pete Johnson calls I-69 a key component in economic development efforts for the Mississippi Delta region, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal. A second article suggests improvements to the U.S. 49 corridor are also being strongly considered.
[Jun 30] The Houston Chronicle reports on the Trans Texas Corridor proposal, noting that 3 of the 4 priority corridors would serve Houston directly; another report appears in the Austin American-Statesman.
[Updated Jun 29] People attending the I-69 public meeting in Henderson urged construction of an eastern route, according to this article in the Evansville Courier & Press. Jeffrey Coleman Carlyle of KentuckyRoads.com reports there is some confusion about the route of Corridor 2 based on the outline maps; local residents were concerned that KY 1078 was to be overlaid by the route, but more detailed maps (overlaying aerial photography) and discussions with HNTB officials suggest the planned route is actually located west of KY 1078.
[Jun 27] The Texas Transportation Commission has endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry's Trans Texas Corridor proposal, according to the Associated Press. Two TTC routes (both among the four designated as "priority" routes) closely parallel proposed I-69 corridors in the state; it appears likely that the I-69 project may be incorporated into these routes, rather than upgrading existing U.S. highways. I69Info.com updates will be posted soon.
[Jun 26] The DeSoto Times Today (Mississippi) ran an article discussing property values along the new MS 304 in Hernando. This portion of MS 304 is SIU 10 of Interstate 69, and is expected to be open to traffic around the middle of the decade.
[Jun 21] The number of potential corridors for I-69 near Evansville (SIU 4) has been narrowed from ten to three, according to the Evansville Courier & Press. Two corridors are located east of Evansville, while the other runs to the west of the city. Meanwhile, a route west of the city is preferred by officials at the state port in Mount Vernon, and the Democratic candidate for secretary of state favors a direct Evansville-Bloomington-Indianapolis routing for SIU 3. (Links from the EC&P.)
[Jun 20] An official project website was recently established for I-69 SIU 13 (El Dorado-McGehee, Ark.); thanks to Tim Smith at Michael Baker, Inc., for passing the URL along. The SIU 13 page at I69Info.com has been updated with the new information.
[Updated Jun 4] Indiana environmental groups continue to complain about INDOT ensuring the I-69 study between Indianapolis and Evansville complies with environmental laws, according to this article in the Evansville Courier & Press; also see the EC&P editorial.
[May 26] Restoring $7.5 million in funding for the Great River Bridge project (I-69 SIU 12) has been approved by the House of Representatives, according to this Associated Press article. More details are in Congressman Mike Ross's weekly newsletter.
[May 19] The Evansville Courier & Press editorializes on the role of a direct route for Interstate 69 in improving Indiana's "Poverty Belt."
[May 17] A new alternatives map has been posted at the I-69 SIU 3 study's website; the only change is the addition of another alternative routing for Alternative 4. The Evansville-Indianapolis page has been updated with the relevant information.
[May 15] Back on April 27, the Memphis Commercial Appeal ran an article about a wetland mitigation project in Fayette County, Tennessee; the acreage will probably be used, in part, to compensate for wetlands losses due to I-69-related projects in West Tennessee.
[May 9] Added the Indianapolis-Port Huron page; now every SIU gets at least some discussion at I69Info.com.
I have also added <LINK> tags to the pages on the site. Many newer browsers recognize these tags and can use them as an alternate way of navigating the site; in Mozilla (and presumably Netscape 6, but I haven't tested it), use View > Show/Hide > Site Navigation Bar > Show Only As Needed to enable the Link Toolbar. I also did a little cleanup work around the undercarriage of the pages in general, and classified the TTC article as a "Feature" since I expect to write more.
[May 5] The Evansville Courier & Press reported on May 2 that an Evansville loop is not in the cards for the route of I-69 SIU 4 through the Evansville-Henderson area; the EC&P also reports that Evansville-area legislators have called on other state legislators to support the final I-69 route for SIU 3 (Evansville-Indianapolis) selected by state and federal transportation officials. (The SIU 4 page has been updated to include the latest corridor map.)
[Apr 19] The Indianapolis Star reports on efforts in Martinsville to have I-69 follow Indiana 37 or 67 through the area, citing needed improvements in safety along the heavily-traveled routes and economic development.
[Apr 19] Another of those "Only in Indiana" stories: the EC&P reports that environmentalists are upset over cost overruns in the I-69 Indianapolis-Evansville study--overruns caused by new environmental regulations.
Back to I-69.