INDOT: Indiana 37 ‘the logical choice’ for I-69 extension
MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (March 29, 2016) — In a surprise announcement Tuesday, Indiana Department of Transportation officials said they have chosen State Road 37 as the final leg of the I-69 connector project.
“The importance of it cannot be overstated,” Indiana Economic Development Corporation President Jim Schellinger said.
“The state road 37 corridor generates the best return on investment for Hoosiers,” INDOT Commissioner Brandye Hendrickson said.
The portion of SR37, between I-465 on the south side of Indianapolis and Martinsville, was chosen out of five possible plans that have been up for public comments for months. The overall project, connecting I-69 through the state, has been in the works for more than a decade.
INDOT has not yet drawn up final plans, instead offering options for interchanges and overpasses that it will put together in the coming years. An environmental impact study needs to be completed as well.
While the news may be welcome to commuters, who would see their time between Indianapolis and Martinsville cut by more than 10 mintues, not everyone is on board.
City-county council member Jason Holliday, who represents District 20 on the southwest side, said it will have a major impact on his constituents, particularly Perry Township Schools.
“I was disappointed,” Holliday said.
Holliday said he was concerned about access over the road for emergency vehicles, school buses, and residents. He was also concerned about more than 300 residents and businesses that are estimated to be displaced by the project.
“It can be detrimental to the people that will be displaced,” Holliday said.
Chad Laughner, who opened US Defense Solutions at SR37 and County Line Road three years ago, said he wasn’t sure if his business will have to move.
“As a small business owner, it’s a big concern,” Laughner said. “(It’s) still a little vague right now on how much property they want and how close they’re going to get to us.”
INDOT provided comparisons to other possible routes, saying the SR37 option made the least environmental impact and would cut down crashes by 1,379 per year. It also estimated the economic impact on the region at more than $4 billion.
The public will get to weigh in and learn more about the project at two meetings next week. One will be held Monday at Perry Meridian High School, the other Tuesday at Martinsville High School. Both meetings will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
For more information and to give your input, go to the link here.