updated: 10/19/2012 8:51:18 AM
Events are set for Saturday to tout the completion of a major portion of a highway expansion. I-69 Community Day activities are planned for Daviess, Greene, Pike and Gibson counties. In an interview on Inside INdiana Business Television, Petersburg Mayor Jon Craig called the expansion a "life-changing event" for the community.
October 18, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Governor Mitch Daniels has proclaimed this Saturday, Oct. 20, as Interstate 69 Community Day. As part of the special day, five communities across southwest Indiana will host family friendly events on the interstate to celebrate all of the positive benefits the new I-69 corridor will deliver when it opens later this year. The events will be free, but organizers are asking attendees to bring canned goods to help local food pantries.
"The new I-69 corridor holds tremendous promise for the future," said Gov. Daniels. "The interstate will result in new job creation, expanded economic opportunity, faster and safer travel, greater connectivity and more. Communities across southwest Indiana have been waiting on this interstate for decades and I'm glad that we can provide them with this special opportunity to celebrate before it opens to traffic."
I-69 Community Day will represent the first time the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has permitted public access of this nature on an interstate under construction. The approximate locations and times for the five Community Days are (from north to south):
-Greene County: near the U.S. 231 and new I-69 interchange. Event access will be via County Road 25 West and parking will be on the interstate. Activities will start at 9 a.m. and conclude shortly after 6 p.m.
-Town of Odon: near the SR 58 and new I-69 interchange. Event access will be via shuttle service from the North Daviess Junior/Senior High School. Activities will start at 9 a.m. and conclude shortly after 5 p.m.
-Daviess County: near the U.S. 50 and new I-69 interchange. Event access will be via County Road 100 North and parking will be on the interstate. Activities will start at 10 a.m. and conclude at 6 p.m.
-Pike County: near the SR 61 and new I-69 interchange. Event access will be via shuttle service from three lots off Illinois Street near SR 61. Activities will start at 9 a.m. and conclude around 4 p.m.
-Gibson County: near the SR 64 and new I-69 interchange. Event access will be via the southbound on-ramp at SR 64 and parking will be on the interstate. Activities will start at 11 a.m. CST and conclude after sunset.
"Interstate 69 is going to dramatically change our community for the better and signal to the rest of the country that southwest Indiana is open for business," said Petersburg Mayor Jon Craig. "The lack of connectivity in our region has been the missing spoke of the wheel and our residents are excited to join with other historically underserved communities in celebrating what this important stretch of highway means to all of us."
Each of the Community Day venues will feature a variety of family friendly activities planned by local organizing committees. Some of the highlights will include: a Little Miss Interstate Pageant, a hot air balloon flyover, various games for kids, a special skydiving exhibition, ceremonial remarks, charity 5k runs, food vendors, chalk art, antique tractor displays, horse and buggy rides, corn hole, putting contests and more.
In 2006, Gov. Daniels outlined a bold proposal - known as Major Moves - that included leasing the Indiana Toll Road. Funds generated from that innovative plan allowed construction to begin on the new I-69 corridor that will ultimately stretch from Evansville to Indianapolis through Bloomington. The initial 67-mile section that will open later this year will connect communities from just northeast of Evansville at I-64 to the US 231 interchange near the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Crane.
"The local groups that have planned the various Community Day events have shown tremendous creativity and enthusiasm," said Samuel Sarvis, INDOTís Deputy Commissioner for Major Programs. "We look forward to joining them at their celebrations on the nearly completed I-69 where we are on pace to open for business before the end of the year."
Source: Indiana Department of Transportation