MARTINSVILLE - The Indiana Department of Transportation has awarded Walsh Construction Co. II LLC a $165 million contract to transform six miles of State Road 37 in Martinsville into Interstate 69.

INDOT says Walsh’s bid was the lowest of the four it received. The state says Walsh’s bid is nearly $8 million below the state's project estimate.

The I-69 Finish Line, as this project is named, will upgrade the existing state highway into interstate standards between Martinsville and Indianapolis. It is the final section of the Interstate 69 connection between Evansville and Indianapolis.

In 2021, SR 37 will be completely closed in Martinsville between SR 39 and Morgan Road to allow for safe construction.

INDOT says work will begin this year to prepare detour routes in Martinsville so they can handle more traffic.

Once this stretch is completed in late 2021, it will have four interchanges allowing access to the interstate. INDOT says 14 current intersections with traffic signals will be removed.

INDOT says crews will be working this winter and spring to start clearing land to make room for utilities.