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I-69 Section 5 Won’t Be Complete Until May 2018

I 69

Photo: Barbara Brosher

The memorandum of understanding says four lanes of traffic will be open through Bloomington starting in August.

The Indiana Finance Authority says the stretch of Interstate 69 from Bloomington to Martinsville won’t be complete until at least May of next year. The project was initially supposed to wrap up by Oct. 2016.

In a press release Monday, the IFA says the private developers tasked with building and maintaining I-69 Section 5, I-69 Development Partners, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the state that says all four lanes of traffic through Bloomington will open by mid-August and the project will be complete by May 31, 2018.

“I directed the IFA to work thoroughly and decisively with the developer to resolve outstanding issues and set a firm completion date for I-69 Section 5, and this MOU reflects their efforts,” Governor Eric Holcomb said in a statement. “We all want this project completed as quickly as possible.”

Construction of Section 5 has been plagued with delays. Some subcontractors halted work on the project last year after not getting paid. The IFA discovered I-69 Development Partners owed subcontractors more than $9 million in undisputed amounts. The main contractor on the project, Isolux Corsan, blamed the state for ongoing delays with the project, claiming several requests for relief events went unanswered.

Local leaders, including Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton, called on the state to take back control of the project, which is being completed through a public-private partnership. It’s funded through private activity bonds.

“I appreciate the meeting I had with Governor Holcomb last week, and his phone call to me today to inform us all of the state’s latest decisions,” Hamilton said in a statement. “Another delay means for us another winter and spring of difficult travel, lost productivity and danger. I hope this will be the last of these announcements we receive.”

The new construction schedule says four lanes of traffic will be open through the Bloomington area by Aug. 15. Four lanes from Sample Road to Martinsville will be open for Indiana University move-in, football and basketball games starting that same day. The stretch of I-69 north of Sample Road to Martinsville will open to four lanes of traffic no later than March 31, 2018.

As part of the MOU, the IFA says I-69 Devleopment Partners and Isolux Corsan will spend an additional $75 million on the project. It will also forgo any prior relief-event claims with the state and the first annual payment I-69 Development Partners would have received for operating and maintaining Section 5 upon completion.

The state will instead use that payment as an additional payment during construction. That will make $28 million available to the developer to fund completion of the Section 5. The IFA says the agreement will not increase the overall cost of the project to the state.

The MOU will not be legally binding until it’s approved by I-69 Development Partners’ bondholders.

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  • Bob Eckert

    If the DOT had handled all the construction and the state had handled the funding, the project for Section 5 would have been done on time and we would be moving briskly into the final section.

  • lastcamp2

    But then where would be the profit for private interests? Isn’t that what drives these “public-private partnerships” that the capitalist ideologues inflict on us, derived from the failed principle that government is the problem, and private enterprise can always do a better job?
    As we say, and as it applies to this wretched project, “How is that working for you?”

  • 141cee1212

    In the 1970′s the DOT, using private contractors, built the four lane Highway 37. That project was on new terrain and didn’t endanger the lives of workers and yet took longer than the I-69 section five is projected to require. With addition of overpasses that were not built when 37 was laid and the need for access roads and feeder ramps, this construction project is moving along quite well. Seems to me that the objective would be to have a well designed, well built and safe roadway when finished. The Mayor’s political grandstanding is of little consequence since the next section has not even been designed, nor contractors hired. It’ll be a long time before it is done, and I for one think that is going quite well.

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