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INDOT Proposal Calls For Closing Portion Of SR 37 In Martinsville During I-69 Construction

I69-changes-thumbnail.jpg

A portion of State Road 37 would close in 2021 as part of the proposal (Map courtesy INDOT).

The Indiana Department of Transportation wants to close a portion of State Road 37 in Martinsville in 2021 to finish I-69 construction.

The agency announced the plan during a reevaluation meeting at Martinsville High School Monday night.

It was the biggest of several changes outlined in the proposal.  

INDOT Strategic Communications Director Scott Manning says the closure would last from spring to fall and allow contractors to finish construction more quickly. 

"We will have State Road 37 closed to thru traffic from the State Road 44 area to State Road 39," Manning says. "All of the local, east-west roads will stay open."

Traffic would be diverted to State Roads 39 and 67 during that closure. 

INDOT also plans to make improvements to SR 39 and several local roads to accommodate the increased traffic expected during the detour.  

Gov. Eric Holcomb (R-Ind.) recently announced the state will invest $600 million to speed up construction of I-69 from Martinsville to Indianapolis by three years. Completion is expected in 2024.

But, the state is still working to complete Section 5 from Bloomington to Martinsville.

That portion of the project has been plagued with funding problems and construction delays, forcing the state to take it over from the private developer originally hired for the job.

Section 5 construction is nearly two years behind schedule, which worries Martinsville resident Vicki Hacker. She doesn't want the same thing to happen to her community.  

"I want to know that when they hire these contractors, is there going to be something that’s going to be put into place so that if they don’t finish and manage in a record time, or in the time that they are allotted, they should be getting penalties and losing money," Hacker says. 

INDOT also announced proposed changes to some interchanges in Martinsville, as well as different aesthetic designs for fencing and walls.

Hacker says those details are minor when it comes to the overall impact the interstate will have on the small town. She worries drivers will no longer stop in Martinsville. 

"They’re not going to care that they went by Martinsville, Indiana," she says. "It’s not going to have any impact on them at all. And, [INDOT's] going to spend all that money to pretty up a bridge? I’m appalled."

INDOT’s final environmental impact statement for Section 6 predicts it will result in a $4.1 billion economic impact over 20 years.

Construction is expected to start next year.

The public has until Sept. 28 to give feedback on the proposal. 

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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