Work has begun on building a new Interstate 69 Ohio River crossing between Kentucky and Indiana.
The project marks the final I-69 connection between Evansville, Indiana and Henderson, Kentucky. The four-lane bridge and its approaches is a joint venture between the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Indiana Department of Transportation. It is part of the $975 million second phase of the I-69 project, which is providing a link between the two states that will be compatible with the national I-69 corridor. The project is also expected to reduce traffic congestion and improve safety.
“The I-69 Ohio River Crossing will mean improved travel and increased opportunities in Western Kentucky and beyond,” said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear at a groundbreaking ceremony June 22. “It gives me a lot of pride to proclaim to the people of Western Kentucky that ‘We’re off!’ Today is the first step toward completing this critical connection.”
Construction of the Ohio River Crossing project will be divided into three sections. The first section includes extending I-69 for over six miles in Henderson, Kentucky, with new interchanges. Work begins this summer and will continue through 2025, according to KYTC. A joint venture of Ragle Inc. and Stantec Consulting Inc. was awarded the $158 million design-build contract for this work.
The second section of the project includes the new bridge and is a joint project between KYTC and INDOT. Design work is to begin in 2025, with construction set for 2027 through 2031.
The third section will be the Indiana bridge approach, with construction scheduled to begin in 2024 and continue through 2027.
The new crossing will be a toll bridge, with its revenue designated for paying off the project’s debt as well as paying for maintenance and operations.
The current crossing between the two towns is the U.S. 41 bridges, one of which is 80 years old and the other 50. The northbound span will be retained for two-way traffic. The southbound bridge can be taken over by a group or agency willing to maintain it or will be demolished after the new bridge is finished, according to KYTC.