The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Editorials

July 17, 2014

Editorial: Find funding to support panel’s roads wish list

We’ve all been there.

Sitting at a standstill in traffic on Interstate 69 as thousands of cars try to occupy the same small space. Inching along at 20 to 30 mph, all the while glaring at the 70 mph sign mocking our progress. Watching the minutes tick by as a 20-mile journey takes nearly an hour.

Whether the horrific commute to and from Indianapolis is a daily nightmare for you or just an occasional annoyance, it is clear something must be done to alleviate the traffic congestion on the interstate between here and Indy.

The good news is our shared anguish hasn’t gone unnoticed. A panel of public officials and private leaders has called for $10 billion in projects to upgrade Indiana roadways, including improvements to I-69.

Gov. Mike Pence’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Transportation Infrastructure released a wish list of “critical” projects last week to improve some of the state’s most crowded arteries. Included in that list were projects for expanding I-69 from Muncie to Indy and creating a “commerce corridor” around Indianapolis.

The I-69 project would expand the interstate from four to six lanes from the highly congested area in Fishers to Ind. 332 in Delaware County. That would include the entire stretch of highway through Madison County. The cost of the project is estimated at $224.35 million.

Current traffic volume through the area ranges from 31,800 to 61,200 vehicles a day. By 2035, those numbers could increase to an astounding 61,000 to 76,400 vehicles a day.

The commerce corridor — a controversial project supported by the panel but not by the city of Indianapolis — would create a second loop around the city, outside of Interstate 465 on the west, south and east sides of the city. It would include a four-lane connector between Interstate 70 west of Greenfield and Interstate 69 near Pendleton at a cost of $295.6 million. The goal would be to allow drivers to avoid the congestion on I-465.

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