CARR - Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads
 

Way To Go

Editorial
South Bend Tribune, November 16, 2002

Sometime soon, probably before the end of the year, Gov. Frank O'Bannon is expected to give the go-ahead to building a limited access highway between Indianapolis and Evansville. The highway would be an extension of I-69, which currently runs between Port Huron, Mich., and Indianapolis. The Indiana Department of Transportation has recommended five new-terrain routes, and has thus far ruled out the preference of many southeastern Indiana residents who want the highway to follow the existing paths of I-70 from Indianapolis to Terre Haute and U. S. 41 from Terre Haute to Evansville.

The Environmental Protection Agency has now weighed in on this issue as well, saying that the new-terrain routes would damage forests and wetlands and that the I-70-U.S. 41 route would do the least amount of damage. We hope that the governor and InDOT give the latter route another look, keeping not only environmental concerns but transportation needs in the rest of the state in mind. It is estimated that a new-terrain route will cost between $1.8 billion and $2 billion, roughly $800 million more than it would cost to upgrade I-70 between Indianapolis and Terre Haute and U.S. 41 from Terre Haute to Evansville. The I-70-U.S. 41 route is approximately the same distance as the new terrain route. The Tribune has supported this route, and so have other newspapers around the state, including those in Indianapolis, Terre Haute, Fort Wayne, Muncie, Lafayette, Gary and Michigan City.

The city council of Bloomington does not want the new terrain route to pass through that city. A letter signed by 7 of the 9 Common Council members of that city implores Gov. O'Bannon to choose the I-70-U.S. 41 route. The council members oppose the new terrain route because they believe the disruption caused by routing the highway through Bloomington will harm the community and its residents.

For our part, we believe that upgrading US 31 between South Bend and Indianapolis is every bit as important as the route between Indianapolis and Evansville. The $800 million saved by choosing the I-70-U.S. 41 route could rebuild a substantial section of US 31.

South Bend Tribune Editorial, November 16, 2002

 

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