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.