Pharos-Tribune

State News

November 19, 2012

I-69 opens in southern Indiana

WASHINGTON — With a cut of a ribbon, I-69 was open Monday.

The dream of many in Daviess County and southwest Indiana was realized as Gov. Mitch Daniels led the opening parade up the 67-mile stretch of new interstate from Evansville to NSWC Crane.

“It is a day of joy for me,” Daniels said. “I had no bigger one but I’ve had many of these including some recently.”

The general public was able to drive on the interstate Monday evening, as the barricades were lifted and the road officially opened an hour earlier than expected, at 5 p.m.

But before the public could drive on it, ribbon cuttings were held at the north and south entrances to the interstate with a lunch honoring I-69 workers. The lunch was held at Antioch Christian Church near Washington.

Daniels, riding in his motorcycle, was greeted at many of the Daviess County overpasses by groups of Amish, some Amish schoolchildren, waving at the parade of vehicles.

Speaking at the lunch was David Graham, one of the leaders of the push towards I-69 for Daviess County. He took his first ride on the interstate with his grandson. Graham said the road was built for three reasons.

“Jobs. The second reason was Jobs. And the third reason was Jobs,” Graham joked. “We want to make sure we are ready now that we have this part of the road completed.”

Graham said it was also important for the interstate to be completed to Indianapolis.

“The grains that are in Daviess County can be loaded up and taken to Indianapolis and from there be taken to all directions around the globe,” Graham said.

Another I-69 leader honored at the Antioch lunch was the late John Newland. Newland was the head of the Mid-Continent Highway Coalition but passed away this year before the interstate’s completion. John’s son Mark Newland said his father would be looking from above and enjoy the road’s completion.

“As was his custom, he would have deflected any credit towards himself and directed towards those who made this happen,” Mark Newland said.

In his remarks both at Antioch and the north ribbon cutting at the U.S. 231 junction, Daniels mentioned the belief in moving forward. Something he believed had to be done for Indiana by building I-69.

“We are all in this together in this big and incredibly variable state,” Daniels said. “In the end, we all rise together. That is a message about I-69 to all corners of the state.”

Daniels made the decision in 2005 to build I-69 from Evansville to Crane by using funds earned from leasing the Indiana Toll Road. By Monday’s opening, construction costs were $300 million under estimates, according to an INDOT release.

Daniels relayed the story of Travis Burkhart, who was seriously injured while traveling to Evansville. He is still recovering, but was at the ceremony with his mother and father.

“She said to me ‘If I-69 would have been there years ago, my son wouldn’t have been injured,’” Daniels said. “The data says that in the next couple decades, an estimated 40,000 wrecks will not happen. Don’t tell me this (road) doesn’t save lives.”

The road will also save time traveling to Evansville, according to a Purdue University study. A report from the Joint Transportation Research Program said drivers will save 38 minutes one way.

“That’s an overachievement all by itself,” Daniels said.

Daniels, who held back some emotion at times, said the road also signified what he tried to do while governor, to “bring this state together.”

“There’s no bigger example than I-69 that we, frankly, walked on coals to help people to pull off the transaction that made this and 200 more projects like this possible,” Daniels said.

A ribbon cutting was also held in Evansville early Monday morning. Congressman Larry Bucshon, R-Newburgh, spoke during the ceremony. He commended Daniels and INDOT for their work.

“I am excited for the potential, especially for Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center, as we open the first three sections (Monday),” Bucshon said. “I can assure you, as long as I am in Congress, I will make it a priority to see I-69 is completed all the way to Indianapolis.”

Commander James M. Stewart of NSA Crane also spoke at the northern ribbon cutting. He said the impact will be immediate to Crane, by allowing goods to travel faster.

Daniels said after the ceremony it was “great fun.”

“The real joy of today was looking at the faces of people who have worked so long and so hard,” Daniels said. “and knowing at long last their efforts were rewarded.”

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
State News
  • Teen Pilot-Crash [Duplicate] [Duplicate] Family: Indiana teen pilot who crashed in ocean knew risks PLAINFIELD (AP) — Haris Suleman knew that flying around the world carried risks. But like adventurers before him, the 17-year-old pilot from Indiana also believed dreams aren't achieved without taking chances. "Why does any explorer undertake the nec

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Indy. Man who avoided prison time for rape resentenced INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indianapolis man who was placed on home detention after being convicted of drugging and raping his then-wife is going to prison for violating his probation. The ex-wife of 52-year-old David Wise said she felt "sucker punched" b

    July 24, 2014

  • Judge rules Indiana hog farms protected by law WINCHESTER (AP) — A judge has ruled state law protects the operator of large hog farms from lawsuits filed by residents of an eastern Indiana county. The lawsuits against North Carolina-based Maxwell Farms accused it of allowing hog waste to accumula

    July 24, 2014

  • Ex-Indy officer appeals convictions in fatal crash INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A former Indianapolis police officer is appealing his convictions for killing one motorcyclist and seriously injuring two others while driving drunk in his police cruiser. A brief filed by public defenders Wednesday claims the jud

    July 24, 2014

  • Ex-Indiana officer pleads guilty in $150K theft FRANKFORT (AP) — A former central Indiana police officer has pleaded guilty to charges that he stole nearly $150,000 from a company for which he transported cash. Former Frankfort police Lt. Randy Emery avoided jail time as a judge sentenced him to t

    July 24, 2014

  • Court rules prison agency mistreated former Pendleton counselor INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that Indiana's prison agency mistreated a female employee when it shrugged off her complaints about workers having sex on her desk and later fired her for having an affair with an official. The ap

    July 23, 2014

  • Complaint ends teacher prayer in western Indiana school district TERRE HAUTE (AP) — A western Indiana school district is telling teachers and other employees they can't lead prayers during school-sponsored event. The decision by the Vigo County School Corp. in Terre Haute follows a complaint made to the Freedom fr

    July 23, 2014

  • Lawmakers approve pair of new license plates INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A panel of state lawmakers approved new license plates recognizing the Indy 500 and Abraham Lincoln under a new system clamping down on the number of special license plates on the road. Members of the Legislature's transportation

    July 23, 2014

  • Indiana Veterans Hall of Fame seeks nominations INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A new hall of fame for Indiana military veterans is seeking nominations for its first class of inductees. The Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame says it expects to induct the first honorees around Veterans Day at Fort Benjamin

    July 23, 2014

  • Gay couples' lawyers object to full-court hearing INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Attorneys on either side of a lawsuit over Indiana’s overthrown gay marriage ban are wrangling over how many federal judges should hear the state’s appeal, a technical issue that could make a big difference.Those representing gay

    July 23, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

The Pence administration continues to cut Indiana agency budgets despite a state surplus of $2 billion. Is this wise management of state funds?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.