The Indiana Department of Transportation and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet are studying and gathering input from the public on the feasibility and potential impact of a modern Ohio River crossing between Evansville, IN, and Henderson, KY, that meets today’s interstate design standards and improves highway safety. The crossing would link together existing segments of I-69 and serve as a vital component to enhancing local and regional mobility in the tri-state area.
On June 30, 2016, Governor Mike Pence and Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed a memorandum of understanding directing both states to begin studying the environmental and economic impacts of an I-69 Ohio River Crossing.
Potential Benefits of an I-69 Ohio River Crossing
- Improve cross-river mobility in the Evansville/Henderson area: The only existing Ohio River crossing in the area – U.S. 41 – is inadequate to meet existing local traffic and future traffic demands under normal working conditions. Additionally, the U.S. 41 bridges are more than 50 years old and will require significant modernization and rehabilitation to remain in service. A new I-69 Ohio River Crossing will provide a modern bridge crossing that is built to federal interstate standards and is better equipped to handle current and future traffic volumes.
- Strengthen the transportation network in the tri-state area: Population, job growth, and economic activity is forecasted to grow significantly in the tri-state region in the coming decades, resulting from the completion of I-69 between Evansville and Indianapolis and other factors. The existing transportation network is not adequate to meet the forecasted local traffic demand or to support an increase in regional and national traffic on I-69.
- Support the completion of I-69: The I-69 Bridge will provide a modern, interstate-quality connection between Evansville, IN, and Henderson, KY, while also serving as a link between key segments of the I-69 corridor.
What are the Next Steps?
Indiana and Kentucky have agreed to issue a request for proposals (RFP) seeking a firm to study the environmental and economic impacts of an I-69 Ohio River Crossing. Once a firm is selected, a multi-year study will be conducted to evaluate several factors, including:
- Land Use Impacts
- Social Impacts
- Relocation Impacts
- Residential and Neighborhood Impacts
- Environmental Justice
- Economic Considerations
- Air Quality Impacts
- Highway Noise Impacts
- Wild and Scenic Rivers Impacts
- Historic Impacts
- Archaeology Impacts
- Visual Impacts
- Hazardous Waste Site Impacts
- Threatened and Endangered Species Impacts
- Wetlands Impacts
- Agricultural Impacts
- Forest Impacts
- Water Quality Impacts
- Ecosystem Impacts
- Energy Impacts
- Mineral Resource Impacts
- Water Body Modifications
Engineering and Traffic
- Traffic Impacts
- Pedestrian/Bicycle Impacts
- Construction Impacts
- Seismic Considerations
- Access and Interchange Locations
- Right-of-way Constraints
- Hydraulics and Floodplain Impacts
The project team will also gather input from the public, local elected officials and area stakeholder groups. The team will be responsible for creating a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Once completed, the public will be able to provide feedback on the Draft EIS through written comments and testimony at public hearings.