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I-69 Section 4 Completion Delayed To 2015

I-69 construction

Photo: Joe Hren

I-69 construction south of Bloomington.

The section of Interstate 69 between Crane and Bloomington is expected to be complete by the end of 2015, which is a year later than originally planned.

The Indiana Department of Transportation attributes the delay to the weather.

“Where we can make up schedule certainly we will, but with the past two wet summers and of course the harsh winter in between, it has been difficult to do so,” INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield says.

INDOT builds a certain number of inclement weather days into its timetables. Last year, the I-69 project had 50 inclement weather days on top of that, and this year there has been another 20 days.

“That makes it hard to catch up from that because primarily what’s occurring right now is moving and compacting about 20 million cubic yards of dirt,” Wingfield says. “When you’re doing that activity, if it rains for a day, it takes a few days for it to dry out such that you can return to the site, and it’s no longer muddy.”

He adds that some unexpected environmental issues such as dealing with the area’s karst topography as well as not being able to find contractors for certain jobs also caused delays.

Wingfield says looking at additional contracting bids pushed construction back a couple months from late 2014 to early 2015, but it also saved the state about $45 million.

INDOT also said earlier this month it was experiencing delays because of a Monroe County noise ordinance that limited the noise construction crews could make between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. A Marion County judge has since issued temporary injunction, putting a halt to that ordinance.

The changes to Section 4′s timetable are not expected to affect Section 5 from Bloomington to Martinsville, which is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2016.

Last week, the Indiana Finance Authority announced it had sold $244 million in bonds for Section 5, which will be repaid by the private developer, I-69 Development Partners. The state is paying that company to design, build and maintain the road for 35 years after completion.

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