JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. — INDOT is celebrating a big milestone Friday in the I-69 Finish Line project. The entire interchange at Smith Valley Road is now open. The ramp to NB future I-69 is now open, it was the last part of the interchange that wasn’t open yet.
Smith Valley Rd. over the old State Road 37 has been a part of the I-69 Finish Line construction for quite some time now.
”Chaotic,” said Tabatha Wilson. “A lot more traffic at the four-way by my house.”
Wilson lives just off Smith Valley Rd. She used to use it daily and her husband traveled north on SR 37 every weekday before the construction came to town. Now, they’ve been avoiding it as the project continues.
”It’s just been a little challenging knowing which on-ramps are open and which aren’t,” said Jackie Alexander.
Alexander is a hospice nurse and travels all over the southside for patients. The I-69 Finish Line project has complicated travel for her and she’s been having to figure out work arounds.
”Getting to my patients in a timely manner, especially when they’re in crisis, has been a challenge because GPS doesn’t keep up with which roads are open, which roads are closed, which on ramps are open now for northbound, southbound access,” she said.
INDOT Commissioner Mike Smith said this is a real landmark day for the Finish Line project. Smith was joined dozens in construction vests to kick off the opening of the ramp. Smith covered what the project has already accomplished.
it also signifies a milestone in the overall work of the i-69 finish line project in Johnson County and further south.
”12 new lane miles of pavement and interstate conditions, 14 new bridges, two interchanges, 4000 linear feet of noise barrier for our local neighborhoods,” Smith said.
Alexander said she’s already noticed parts of her commute getting quicker.
”I can tell you that my time driving from place to place has shortened because I’m not having to be at so many stop signs,” Alexander said.
Overall, the entire I-69 Finish Line project is just more than a year from when it is scheduled to reopen to the public. Signs of the finish line in sight are getting closer.
”We removed the last of the traffic signals just up the way on Fairview Road, so really free-flowing conditions from Evansville to Indianapolis,” Smith said.
A majority of the work is firmly in Marion County now where crews are working on the new I-69 lanes, the interchange with I-465, and adding lanes to I-465.
“Crossing my fingers everything will be good and everything looks good, so I can’t wait,” Alexander said.
INDOT said by Thanksgiving much of the planned I-69 Finish Line work for the year will be done. Crews will still do what they can during the winter but drivers should see less construction and traffic for those colder months.