The Federal Highway Administration has instructed the Indiana Department of Transportation to allow more time to comment on construction of a portion of Interstate 69. The section in question is a proposed 27-mile stretch of road from Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center to just south of Bloomington whose environmental impact is still being studied. INDOT spokeswoman Cher Goodwin says the first three sections of the road have allowed contractors to choose what materials to use in constructing the road, as a means of working around the area’s topography. It’s a strategy which has drawn criticism from the likes of Bloomington State Representative Matt Pierce, but Goodwin cautions INDOT has not decided whether to allow the same process for the road from Crane north to Indianapolis.
“We’re not certain as to what we will do for Section Four — if we will allow that or if we will design the plans to full status and determine what, exactly, materials need to be utilized at this point,” Goodwin said.
Greene County Commissioner Steve Lindsey said he believes the comments will be a mixed bag, but says he can’t envision halting construction. So he said he’ll focus his efforts on a few roads which county officials have identified as ones which should not be cut off by the highway.
“They’re looking at possible closures or overpasses — undecided yet — on a couple roads we feel need to stay open…for county residents,” he said.
Goodwin says she doesn’t know how many comments have been received so far or whether they’re trending for or against current plans for the road. Once the comment period ends in October, Goodwin says a team of INDOT engineers will open the comments, enter them into the public record for the road, and decide which – if any – to act on.