EVANSVILLE and HENDERSON, Ky. - A group of stakeholders in the Tri-State is urging the project manager of the I-69 Ohio River Crossing project to move forward with the lowest-cost and shortest of the three routes on a short-list of suggested alternatives. The BridgeLink board members say the $860 million "Central Corridor 1" option would maintain use of the current twin bridges in the area. The community leaders also argue tolling should be part of the plans to pay for the corridor, but working out free passage for locals is "critical to making the case."

BridgeLink is chaired by Koch Enterprises Chairman and past Chief Executive Officer Robert Koch and vice-chaired by Henderson, Kentucky physician Dr. John Logan. The mayors of Evansville and Henderson, Lloyd Winnecke and Steve Austin, are also on the board, as are multiple area judges, economic development and chamber of commerce officials, and big names from key local businesses.

The costs of the other projects reach up the $1 billion range. A recent round of public input has just been complete and further study is slated over the next year. The Indiana Department of Transportation and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet say the project team could identify a preferred alternative by fall of 2018 and a Record of Decision is expected by late 2019.

A copy of the letter has been provided by the Indiana Department of Transportation: