This week on Noon Edition, we discussed continuing events in the state’s effort to build I-69. Joining us in studio were INDOT I-69 Spokesperson Cher Goodwin, INDOT Deputy Commissioner Samuel Sarvis, Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads President Thomas Tokarski, and Monroe County Commissioner Mark Stoops.
I-69 Opponents Debate Cost, Quality and Desirability of the Interstate
As appraisers canvas southern Indiana counties along the proposed route for I-69’s extension purchasing homes and property, opponents are saying the state is speeding up the road’s construction too quickly and at too high a cost. Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Sam Sarvis says the interstate doesn’t need to have all the aspects as one that would connect with other states. He says that allows the state to reduce median width, eliminate some interchanges, lay thinner levels of asphault and pursue other cost-cutting moves.
“We won’t build it less than our own standards that have been approved by federal highway. It’s not a chip and seal road. It’s an interstate quality highway. But we certainly don’t need to build it for the connectivity of multiple states until we get to that level. So we’re trying to be good stewards of tax dollars,” he said.
Monroe County Commissioner Mark Stoops says cutting corners is not a good financial investment. Even though the state pledges to save money in the short term, he says the quality of the interstate will suffer.
“As far as I understand it, the thinner asphalt pavement doesn’t meet federal standards. And if we stage this we just pave this interstate as need arises then we’ll be laying down initial asphalt and then trying to upgrade after the fact which certainly has to be more expensive than just doing it right the first time,” he said.
Governor Mitch Daniels has said he wants the interstate open by the end of 2012.