Despite Terre Haute being passed over for a new interstate, city leaders say the lack of Interstate 69 will not hurt the local economy.
The first three sections of I-69 from Evansville to Crane opened last week. That means travelers from Indianapolis soon will not have to go through Terre Haute to get to Evansville on US 41.
A route through Terre Haute was considered in the early planning stages. Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett says even though the city had originally hoped the road from Evansville to Indy would come through Terre Haute, he is not worried about the loss of traffic.
“We may have a few less trucks and cars that come through Terre Haute but most of them are not stopping anyway because they are going from Indianapolis to Evansville or vise versa, and I don’t really think it’s going to have that much of a direct impact,” Bennett says.
Jeff Holler, the owner of Shadylane Antique Mall on US 41 says even if I-69 had been built through Terre Haute, he does not think it would have impacted his business.
“I mean, we are right on a major highway, Highway 41 and you can see by just the daily traffic flow that goes up and down it, people are going to drive to a retailer that has what they want to buy,” Holler says.
The Indiana Department of Transportation will build a bypass that runs south of I-70 from US 41 to State Road 46 and is expected to be complete by 2014, a road which could bring some traffic back to area businesses.
Dan Goldblatt contributed to this report.