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‘We’re Off!’: Gov. Beshear and Kentucky Officials Break Ground on I-69 ORX

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The first shovels of dirt have been turned for the Interstate 69 Ohio River Crossing (I-69 ORX). Gov. Andy Beshear, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray, Henderson Mayor Steve Austin, Henderson County Judge/Executive Brad Schneider and Evansville, Indiana, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke joined forces today to break ground on I-69 ORX in Henderson. They gathered at the site of the future US 41 and I-69 interchange in Henderson.

“This is a monumental day,” Gov. Andy Beshear said. “My family roots in Western Kentucky go back for generations. I know how long people in this area have waited to see this bridge, and I know how much it means to them. That’s why completing this important interstate connection has been a priority for my administration. The I-69 Ohio River Crossing will mean improved travel and increased opportunities in Western Kentucky and beyond. It gives me a lot of pride to proclaim to the people of Western Kentucky that ‘We’re off!’ Today is the first step toward completing this critical connection.”

I-69 ORX is divided into three sections for construction. I-69 ORX Section 1 focuses on improvements in Henderson and extends from KY 425 to US 60. It includes an extension of over six miles of I-69, new interchanges with US 41 and US 60 and a reconstructed KY 351 interchange. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is overseeing the Section 1 project with construction beginning in earnest this summer and continuing through 2025.

“This is a significant year for Henderson as we mark our 225th anniversary. In a year that we’re celebrating the history of Henderson, it’s only fitting that we break ground on this important project,” Mayor Steve Austin said. “The I-69 Ohio River Crossing will hold a prominent spot in Henderson’s history because of what it will mean to our city. We’ll have a safer way for our citizens to cross the Ohio River, a faster way to move goods and a better connection for our communities.”

Elected officials, KYTC members, Federal Highway Administration officials, I-69 ORX Project Team members and crews from Ragle, Inc. were on hand to celebrate the groundbreaking.

“This day has been decades in the making,” Judge/Executive Brad Schneider said. “We’ve seen the vision for a long time, and we’ve known what the I-69 Ohio River Crossing will mean to Henderson County and the entire region. We’re already seeing the interest and investment, and I can’t wait to see what’s next. This project will bring opportunities to our area for decades to come. Today is the culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication of many people, and I’m so glad to be here for this moment.”

I-69 ORX Section 2 is a bistate project between Indiana and Kentucky that will complete the I-69 connection from US 60 in Henderson to I-69 in Evansville, which includes the new river crossing. Design is expected to begin in 2025 with construction anticipated to begin in 2027 and continue through 2031. Both states continue to look for opportunities to accelerate that timeline. I-69 ORX Section 3 is the bridge approach construction in Indiana. Design work and preconstruction activities are underway. The Indiana Department of Transportation is overseeing this section and construction is expected to begin in 2024 and end in 2027.

“It’s a great feeling to stand in Henderson today, pick up a shovel and help turn the first dirt on this monumental project,” Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke said. “The I-69 Ohio River Crossing will join our communities in ways not possible before. Interstate connectivity is a gamechanger, and I’m excited to see the growth and opportunities ahead for Evansville and Henderson. I’ve always seen the many benefits this region offers. With the I-69 Ohio River Crossing, we’re taking those benefits to the next level.”

More information about the project can be found at I69ohiorivercrossing.com.

Gov. Beshear said that today’s announcement follows a historic investment of $250 million in his upcoming budget for major transportation infrastructure projects. The General Fund dollars target three projects: the Brent Spence companion bridge project, the I-69 Ohio River Crossing in Henderson and the completion of the Mountain Parkway expansion project. The one-time funds are meant to give Kentucky the flexibility to meet state match requirements for expected federal grants.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Announces Contractor for Section 1 of new I-69 Ohio River Crossing

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Transformational project moves forward with groundbreaking in early 2022

Today, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet announces Ragle, Inc./Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. as the contractor for the initial construction of the  new I-69 Ohio River Crossing (I-69 ORX). Section 1 focuses on the initial alignment and corridor improvements in Henderson and extends from KY 425 to US 60.

The I-69 Ohio River Crossing is divided into two sections for construction. I-69 ORX Section 2 is a bistate project between Kentucky and Indiana that will complete the I-69 connection from US 60 in Henderson to I-69 in Evansville. It includes the new river crossing. Design is expected to begin in 2025 with construction anticipated to begin in 2027 and continue through 2031. Both states continue to look for opportunities to accelerate that timeline.

“We celebrate this major milestone for our Bi-State community and look forward to hosting Governor Beshear for a groundbreaking in early 2022,” said Bob Koch, the Chair of BridgeLink. BridgeLink is a non-profit advocacy group formed to promote the construction of a bridge across the Ohio River connecting Evansville, Indiana and Henderson, Kentucky. “Momentum is in the air and though there is much work ahead, we celebrate this connection to I-69’s North terminus at the US-Canada border with the Mississippi River ports and global markets beyond.

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of the Evansville Region’s $50 million READI funding announcement to drive quality of place projects leading to population growth and Pratt Industries $500 million project breaking ground last week in Henderson.  The I-69 ORX is one of many projects in the region’s development plan to become the talent and economic region of choice in the Midwest.

“The ORX project not only addresses a solution to long-term cross-river mobility, but it plays to the Region’s strengths of being in the logistical center of the United States,” said Brad Schneider, Judge Executive of Henderson, KY and a long-time BridgeLink board member. “Completion of the I-69 highway expansion is an opportunity to capture significant development opportunities as this critical north-South freight corridor is activated with new access and capacity.”

Next steps as released today by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet announcement today: I-69 ORX Section 1 focuses on improvements in Henderson and extends from KY 425 to US 60. Construction is expected to begin in early 2022 and continue through 2025. It will extend I-69 by more than six miles and includes interchanges with KY 351, US 41 near Kimsey Lane and at US 60.

Click here to download the ORX Section 1 map.

New Milestone Pushes I-69 Ohio River Crossing Forward

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Record of Decision received from the Federal Highway Administration

The environmental study for the I-69 Ohio River Crossing (I-69 ORX) is now complete, which will allow Section 1 construction to begin.

Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision Front Cover

I-69 ORX is divided into two sections for construction. I-69 ORX Section 1 focuses on improvements in Henderson and extends from KY 425 to US 60. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is overseeing the Section 1 project with construction expected to begin in early 2022 and continue through 2025.

I-69 ORX Section 2 is a bistate project between Indiana and Kentucky that will complete the I-69 connection from US 60 in Henderson to I-69 in Evansville. It includes the new river crossing. Design is expected to begin in 2025 with construction anticipated to begin in 2027 and continue through 2031. Both states continue to look for opportunities to accelerate that timeline.

The last steps of the environmental study were the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD), required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for large, federally-funded projects.

The FEIS identifies Central Alternative 1B Modified as the Selected Alternative. It includes a four-lane I-69 bridge and retains one US 41 bridge for local traffic. It includes 11.2 miles of new interstate, including 8.4 miles on new terrain and 2.8 miles of upgrades to US 41. Only the I-69 bridge will be tolled. The ROD is issued by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and signifies final approval of the Selected Alternative.

The FEIS is posted on the project website (I69ohiorivercrossing.com/feis-rod) and a printed copy will be available for review at several locations:

  • I-69 ORX Project Office: 1970 Barrett Ct., Suite 100, Henderson, KY
  • Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library (EVPL) – Central Library: 200 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Evansville, IN
  • EVPL – East Branch: 840 E. Chandler Ave., Evansville, IN
  • EVPL – McCollough Branch: 5115 Washington Ave., Evansville, IN
  • Henderson Public Library: 101 S. Main St., Henderson, KY
  • Henderson County Judge/Executive: 20 N. Main St., Suite 300, Henderson, KY
  • Housing Authority of Henderson: 111 S. Adams St., Henderson, KY
  • KYTC Central Office: 200 Mero St., Division of Environmental Analysis, Frankfort, KY
  • KYTC District 2 Office: 1840 N. Main St., Madisonville, KY
  • INDOT Central Office: 100 N. Senate Ave., Room N758-ES, Indianapolis, IN
  • INDOT Vincennes District Office: 3650 S. US 41, Vincennes, IN

The alignment is unchanged from the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) published in December 2018. The Selected Alternative is “modified” because additional design work has resulted in modifications to each of the interchanges to improve operations and reduce project costs.

I-69 ORX Virtual Public Meeting Scheduled for April 1

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I-69 ORX Virtual Public Meeting Scheduled for April 1, 6-7 p.m. CT

A virtual public meeting is scheduled for April 1 to provide an update on the proposed I-69 Ohio River Crossing. The meeting is an opportunity to learn more about the preferred alternative, how the Project Team reached its decision, refinements made and next steps for the project.

The public meeting is 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. CT on Thursday, April 1. Click here to register and receive login information.

Attendees can also call 888-475-4499 and use Meeting ID # 976 5885 9943 to join by phone.

A 15-day comment period will run through Friday, April 16 to accept feedback on the single preferred alternative. Comments can be received via:

Individuals can use the same contact channels to request project materials be sent by mail.

Learn more about next steps and ORX Sections 1 and 2.

ORX Section 1

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I-69 ORX is divided into two sections for project delivery.

I-69 ORX Section 1 focuses on improvements in Henderson and extends from KY 425 to US 60.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is overseeing the project. I-69 ORX Section 1 will extend I-69 by more than six miles and includes interchanges with KY 351, US 41 near Kimsey Lane and at US 60.

Click here to download the ORX Section 1 map.

ORX Section 1 FAQs

Has funding been identified for I-69 ORX Section 1?
Governor Beshear included funding in his six-year state highway plan in 2020 and Kentucky lawmakers demonstrated their support with $227 million for the project over a 5-year period.

When will construction of I-69 ORX Section 1 begin?
Construction is expected to begin in 2022 and continue through 2025.

What work is happening now on I-69 ORX Section 1?
Pre-construction activities including design, right-of-way and utility coordination are underway.

ORX Section 1 Project Documents

Henderson City-County Planning Commission Meeting Presentation  (January 2021)
Interchange Refinement Maps (January 2021)

I-69 Ohio River Crossing Planning Commission Update

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Henderson City County Planning Commission Meeting Presentation January 2021>

Gov. Holcomb Announces Next Steps in Development of Interstate 69 Ohio River Crossing

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INDIANAPOLIS – Governor Eric J. Holcomb today announced that the Indiana Department of Transportation will take the next steps to advance development of an Interstate 69 crossing over the Ohio River near Evansville.

The state has identified a preferred route alternative in partnership with the Commonwealth of Kentucky that will include a new, four-lane tolled Interstate 69 bridge over the Ohio River and retain one of the existing U.S. 41 Ohio River bridges to support local traffic. The remaining U.S. 41 Ohio River bridge will be non-tolled.

“Our globally recognized transportation network and prime location make Indiana one of the most attractive places in the U.S. to do business,” Gov. Holcomb said. “Advancing the I-69 Ohio River Crossing as we finish construction of I-69 between Evansville and Indianapolis further enhances our connectivity regionally and nationally. Our progress on this transformational effort sends a strong message to job creators that Indiana will continue to offer best-in-class infrastructure for generations to come.”

Selection of the preferred alternative route allows for publishing of a final environmental impact statement and record of decision, both of which are expected in 2021. Kentucky and Indiana will share costs for the $1.5 billion design and construction of the project using a combination of toll revenue and existing federal and state transportation funds.

“As we finish construction of I-69 between Evansville and Indianapolis, Hoosiers are already experiencing the benefits of a faster, safer connection between Southwest Indiana and our capital city and points beyond,” Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe McGuinness said. “Moving forward on the I-69 Ohio River Crossing brings those same mobility and safety benefits to motorists on a regional scale along with tremendous opportunity for private investment and job growth.”

Construction on the I-69 Ohio River Crossing is anticipated to begin following the opening to traffic of
I-69 Section 6 between Martinsville and Indianapolis in late 2024.

About the Indiana Department of Transportation
Over the past 100 years, INDOT has transformed the state of Indiana into the Crossroads of America we know today. With six district offices and 3,500 employees, the agency is responsible for constructing and maintaining more than 29,000 lane miles of highways, more than 5,700 bridges, and supporting 4,500 rail miles and 117 airports across the state. Indiana once again ranked #1 in the U.S. for infrastructure in CNBC’s 2019 “America’s Top States for Business” ranking. Learn more about INDOT at in.gov/indot.

Interchange Refinement Maps

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I-69 Ohio River Crossing – Completing the Connection

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Indiana and Kentucky are committed to improving the I-69 corridor by creating an I-69 Ohio River Crossing (ORX) between Evansville and Henderson.
Once complete, the project will provide cross-river connectivity between I-69 in Indiana and I-69 in Kentucky, address long-term cross-river mobility, reduce traffic congestion and improve safety.

Community Conversations to Discuss I-69 Ohio River Crossing

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Residents can ask questions and provide written comments

Two Community Conversations are scheduled this week to provide information and gather input on the preferred alternatives for the proposed I-69 Ohio River Crossing (I-69 ORX).  Both Community Conversations will include a project presentation and discussion with attendees.

Henderson Community Conversation
Wednesday, Jan. 23, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Housing Authority of Henderson
111 S. Adams St.

Evansville Community Conversation
Thursday, Jan. 24, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Central Branch, EVPL, Browning Event Room B
200 SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

The Project Team will present information about the project at 6 p.m. A discussion with attendees and Project Team members will follow. Various maps and boards will also be available for review. The Community Conversations are a chance to learn more about the preferred alternatives, financing and funding for the project and next steps. Attendees can submit written comments to the Project Team.

Public and agency comments on the DEIS will be accepted through Feb. 8, 2019. The DEIS is posted on the project website (I69ohiorivercrossing.com) and is available for review at several locations in the area.

In addition to participation in this month’s public hearings and Community Conversations, comments can be received through the “Contact Us” page on the project website, by email (info@I69ohiorivercrossing.com), by mail or in person at an I-69 ORX project office.

During the comment period, the Henderson office is staffed Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays and the Evansville office is staffed Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment.

After considering all comments, the states will confirm the preferred alternative in the FEIS. Final approval of the preferred alternative will come from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) through the issuance of a Record of Decision. The ROD is expected in late 2019.

Preferred Alternatives

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) released in December identifies two preferred alternatives: Central Alternative 1A and Central Alternative 1B. The route, bridge location and lane configurations are identical for the two alternatives. Both include a 4-lane I-69 bridge and retain one US 41 bridge.

The tolling options are the only difference between the two alternatives. Central Alternative 1A would toll both the I-69 bridge and the remaining US 41 bridge. Central Alternative 1B would toll only the I-69 bridge.

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