INDIANAPOLIS - A major step to create a new highway serving southwest Indiana is moving forward. The Indiana Department of Transportation and the Mid-States Corridor Regional Development Authority have started a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement. The federal government requires an EIS any time a major infrastructure project will include money from Washington.

An exact path is not yet known, but the Mid-States Corridor would run from Rockport, near the Ohio River, and continue northward generally through the Huntingburg and Jasper areas. This new highway would eventually connect to Interstate 69. “It’s pretty exciting,” says Mid-States Corridor spokesperson Mindy Peterson. “When you talk about improved connections, you're really talking about the increased opportunities for the area and the region.”

An Environmental Impact Statement examines the benefits, impacts and costs that a project of this size would have on the region. The Mid-States Corridor RDA says tier one should take two years to complete.

Once the Federal Highway Administration approves the preferred corridor, then a second, more-detailed study would begin to find a more specific route. “That's when you're going to do more detailed analyses. And you're going to focus to a much more exact determination of impact. And you're going to wind up with specific alignment. So, it is a process,” explains Peterson.

Public meetings are scheduled for next month where the communities can learn about the project and possible routes. Those meetings will be held:

  • Monday, Aug. 5: Washington High School, 608 E. Walnut St., Washington, IN                            
  • Tuesday Aug. 6: Springs Valley High School,m 326 S. Larry Bird Blvd., French Lick, IN
  • Thursday, Aug. 8: Jasper High School, 1600 St. Charles St., Jasper IN

The public meetings are scheduled 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. ET.

You can view the map of the potential preliminary alternatives for the Mid States Corridor below: