Daviess County officials say in the past 11 months since I-69 opened, they have seen significant economic gains.
County Economic Development Corporation executive director Ron Arnold calls 2013 a transformative year for the area.
“Everytime I see a car or truck go down I-69, I’m thinking, ‘Somebody’s got more money in their pocket because of that road,’ and we are very grateful.”
Officials say they’ve seen $38 million in new investments since the 67 mile stretch of interstate from Crane to Evansville opened in November 2012.
“What people have to keep in mind is when Governor Daniels moved this road up, we were expecting we’d have anywhere from 8-13 years to plan for this. When he fast-tracked it, we were looking at three or four years. We’re behind a little bit, as far as infrastructure, but we’re working on it,” Arnold says.
Arnold is optimistic about a $9 million expansion by MacAllister Machinery. The expansion is expected to generate 50 to 60 jobs that will pay $30 or more an hour. He says that’s one of many projects in the works.
“Alliance Barrier Films is building a new manufacturing facility, a coextruded film plant that will be doing their test runs probably the first of November and will start hiring either late this year or early next year,” Arnold says.
There’s no bridge connecting I-69 in southwestern Indiana to Western Kentucky. That project is expected to cost upwards of $3 billion and officials haven’t identified the money for it.
“That certainly will cause a bottleneck down there until they get a new bridge put in. The bridges between Evansville and Henderson are problematic, the way it is right now,” Arnold says.