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Families In Limbo As INDOT Ponders I-69 Section Six Routes

No 69

The Indiana Department of Transportation is still trying to decide on the route for the final stretch of I-69 that will run from Martinsville to Indianapolis.

Five options are on the table.

Residents got a closer look at the proposals this week during a series of public meetings. And many were upset by what they saw.

Mooresville Residents Worry About The Future Of  Their Neighborhoods



When James Baker moved to his rural Mooresville home on Watson Road three years ago, he thought he was here for good.

"This was going to be my last move," he says. "I didn't want to move anymore. I wanted to be out in the country."

Baker has a few neighbors, but they don't live close enough to look through each other's windows. There's a large pond in his backyard with plenty of room for his two Brittany Spaniels to play.

In many ways his home has become his sanctuary.

"It's just peaceful," he says. "I love it out here."

But he's worried about the possibility of a new, unwelcome neighbor moving in.

The Indiana Department of Transportation is considering five alternative routes for I-69 section six, the final leg of the interstate that when finished will connect Evansville to Indianapolis.

If route D comes through our facility we're basically going to be putting our cats to sleep because there's nowhere to relocate them."

-Bob Turner, Founder of the Cheetah Preservation Research Center



Mooresville residents are most concerned about routes INDOT has labeled as B and D, which would connect to I-70 and could directly impact their neighborhoods.

"The D route would come right through our house," Baker says. "And it would take over just everything. It was just devastating when I found that out."

Baker isn't the only one. The route would impact homes and businesses, including the nearby Cheetah Preservation Research Center. The facility provides a safe haven for wild cats who have been abandoned.

"We've taken in approximately 25 African Servals and bobcats within the last 25 years," says founder Bob Turner.

Turner built the facility himself. It has large, fenced in areas for the cats to run around in, as well as a building where they can eat and sleep.

But now he's worried about the future of his feline haven.

"If route D comes through our facility we're basically going to be putting our cats to sleep because there's nowhere to relocate them," Turner says. "And we can't physically rebuild a facility in the short term that the DOT requires you to do."

Taking A Closer Look At The Proposed Routes



Residents expressed their concerns during a public meeting this week at Mooresville High School.

Leanna Cochran has lived in the community for 18 years and couldn't hold back tears as she looked at the route maps.

"If I-69 comes through, it's all gone," she says. " Now at retirement age – I'm retired and my husband is near retirement age – relocating is just something you don't want to do."

So many people showed up that the presentation had to be moved to the high school gymnasium.

Those who spoke out expressed concerns and urged INDOT to choose the route that would go along existing State Road 37.

But INDOT says it has to look at the whole picture.

"There are so many factors that we take into consideration when we're looking at these routes and which route is the most feasible route, one of those being the human impacts," says Public Involvement Specialist LaMar Holliday. "When we talk about human impact we're talking about schools, we're talking about access for emergency services and homes and people getting access to their homes."

INDOT is also weighing the cost and potential environmental impacts of each route.

According to an INDOT report, route B would impact 1,108 acres of property and route D would impact 1,112 acres of property. Holliday says they don't know how many homes or businesses will be impacted.

The agency will accept public comments through Dec. 17Â and Holliday says the feedback they receive will play a large role in the final decision.

"Some of the responses that we've been getting so far is people emailing us, calling us, stopping by our project office to either say which route they prefer or whether they're looking at an interchange or an overpass kind of giving us some feedback on that as well as access," he says.

INDOT plans to make a route recommendation in 2017 with a final decision expected the following year.

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