Officials in two southwestern Indiana counties are hoping to spur development along the Interstate 69 extension by installing infrastructure along its exits to attract businesses that so far haven’t followed the partially built interstate.
Todd Mosby, president and CEO of the Gibson County Economic Development Commission says
people ask all the time what happened to the expected development along the I-69 extension that will eventually run about 142 miles from Evansville to Indianapolis.
Mosby says if he’s heard that question once, he’s heard it a thousand times.
Mosby says the I-69 extension has had an impact on travel but not yet on local industries. The interstate is currently about two-thirds completed and runs from Evansville to Bloomington.
But just having a federal highway running by an exit doesn’t mean businesses are lining up to locate there. And rural counties like Gibson and Pike counties face the task of creating a place businesses want to move to by building infrastructure.
Both counties are planning for that infrastructure along I-69 exits.
Pike County officials are working to finalize plans for an industrial access road at I-69’s Petersburg exit.
The first 67 miles of the I-69 extension opened in 2012 between Evansville and Crane, followed by a the opening of a 27-mile segment between Crane and Bloomington.
Construction of the next 21-mile stretch, an upgrade of Indiana 37 between Bloomington to Martinsville, is expected to wrap up in late June 2017. And the interstate’s final leg between Martinsville and Indianapolis remains in the planning stages.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. estimates the final leg alone will add $2.4 billion to the state’s GDP. But that projection is over a 20-year period, demonstrating how long it can take for economic development to make a full impact.