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Dixie Highway Potential Destruction Alert

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Urgent request for more information:

 

My Doctor put me on prednisone for 12 days to fight an allergic reaction,

so I'm dizzy and my head is spinning, and now this:

 

I just realized that according to Delorme Street Atlas Vers. 2006, the historic

route of the Dixie Highway south of Indianapolis generally following SR 37

at least south to Bloomington, and maybe further south, is now marked as I-69

Corridor. I'm hoping that this will not mean the destruction of a lot of the

Dixie Highway.

 

I can't believe that I haven't been following this, and would welcome any

additional information that anyone may have.

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You would not believe the controversy I-69 has stirred here. Holy cow.

Is the controversy old vs. new or something completely different? Is there a short synopsis?

 

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I just realized that according to Delorme Street Atlas Vers. 2006, the historic route of the Dixie Highway south of Indianapolis generally following SR 37 at least south to Bloomington, and maybe further south, is now marked as I-69 Corridor. I'm hoping that this will not mean the destruction of a lot of the Dixie Highway.

The current plans for I-69 appear to use a lot of the right-of-way of the current IN-37, a lot of which is not original Dixie. Most of that damage has already been done when the current 4-lane divided highway went in. The Dixie would be tied to the original IN-37 alignments, which Jim has well documented on his site (State Road 37 from Indianapolis to Bloomington).

 

Just looking at the three maps he presents on that page (1937, 1970, 2005), you can see that almost all of the old Dixie in Monroe County should be safe. A good section through Martinsville would also be preserved.

 

If you want to spend some time going through Jim Grey's site to compare the old alignments he has documented against the proposed alignments on the I-69 site, you can see there will be some impact to the old Dixie Highway. I actually think that some of the more 'abandoned' sections of the old state road will become more heavily traveled because of the limited access to the I-69 corridor compared to the many connectors to today's IN-37.

 

Chris

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Is the controversy old vs. new or something completely different? Is there a short synopsis?

 

From Wikipedia:

 

Particularly controversial has been the routing in Indiana. The planned extension to Evansville has pitted cities, towns, and counties against one another. The greatest support for I-69 is in Indiana's far southwestern counties and Evansville, while the greatest opposition is between Bloomington and Indianapolis. Bloomington and Martinsville both oppose upgrading State Road 37 to Interstate 69. This has led to southwestern Indiana communities accusing highway opponents further north of trying to isolate this region from the rest of the state by blocking construction of a direct highway link to Indianapolis. To the west, communities along US-41 favor the presently selected alignment in lieu of the only other feasible routing: I-70 to Terre Haute, then US-41 south to Evansville. Regardless of the I-69 routing, an Interstate-quality bypass is slated to be built east of Terre Haute, which supports the I-70/US-41 routing over the selected routing of I-69 for economic reasons.

The Indiana Department of Transportation, current and past governors, and businesses and elected officials in Evansville and adjacent southwest Indiana communities, have favored a direct route via Bloomington that would be built over new terrain from Bloomington to Evansville. Supporters argued that this direct route reduces the travel time to Indianapolis as well as improves access to Bloomington for residents of southwestern Indiana, something a route via Terre Haute would not achieve. State DOT officials have also pointed out that Indiana 37 will eventually be upgraded from a 4-lane arterial route to a freeway, with or without Interstate 69. After extensive review of the alternative routes as well as detailed environmental studies, the state selected the new terrain route via Bloomington.

Environmentalists claim the construction of I-69 will lead to the destruction of 1,500 acres (6 km²) of forest and more than 300 acres (1.2 km2) of wetlands. Some of the destroyed land lies within the Hoosier National Forest and the Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge and Management Area, a habitat vital to some endangered species.[21] Contrary to these claims, official EIS maps that illustrate the selected corridor of I-69 (Alternative 3C) passes well to the west of the Hoosier National Forest, and avoids the Patoka National Wildlife Refuge as well. Environmental groups and local elected officials filed suit in federal court October 2, 2006, to block further study and construction of the route, alleging that the process was rigged to favor the routing via Bloomington.[22] This lawsuit was dismissed by U.S. District Judge David F. Hamilton on December 12, 2007, clearing the way for construction to begin in 2008.

Another area of controversy arose in late 2005 when governor Mitch Daniels proposed levying tolls on the highway to finance its construction, either as a state project or a public-private partnership, in order to accelerate the project. As the route would overlay the existing Indiana 37 between Bloomington and Indianapolis, and there currently is no other free alternative route between Bloomington and Martinsville, this proposal has raised concerns among local residents and businesses.

In March 2006, Governor Mitch Daniels signed a bill known as "Major Moves" that leased the Indiana East-West Toll Road, but also included a compromise on constructing I-69 in southwest Indiana. As part of the deal, the legislation permitted Governor Daniels to enter a similar public-private partnership for construction of 117 miles (188 km) of I-69 as the Southern Indiana Toll Road from Martinsville to the I-64/I-164 interchange, while the remaining 25 miles (40 km) from Martinsville to the I-465/Indiana 37 interchange in Indianapolis would remain toll-free. On June 20, 2006, the Indiana Supreme Court rejected a legal challenge brought on by I-69 opponents, upholding Major Moves legislation in a 4-0 decision.

The toll road option was highly unpopular, even among many who supported the extension via Bloomington. As a result Governor Mitch Daniels announced in December 2006 that I-69 through southwest would be toll-free.

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The current plans for I-69 appear to use a lot of the right-of-way of the current IN-37, a lot of which is not original Dixie. Most of that damage has already been done when the current 4-lane divided highway went in.

 

Good point, Chris -- the damage was already done when SR 37 was rebuilt. The original SR 37 (and, I assume, therefore the original DH route) is significantly chopped up, some of it is abandoned, and some of it is now private property.

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You would not believe the controversy I-69 has stirred here. Holy cow.

 

You ought to be down here in West Tennessee - the Rebs are cleaning their muskets and shotguns, ready to defend the south against an un-needed interstate.

 

The big controversy around here seems to be where to run an I-69 corridor - one faction wants to build it on top the current U S 51, by-passing the towns; another faction wants to run it out east of 51; and still another faction wants to run it west of 51 - somewhere - with a connector to the current route 300 on the north side of Memphis taking I-40 over another bridge to be built somewhere in this area where I live. I think I'd be living on an on-ramp if that last one prevails - but I doubt I'll live long enough to see anything get done.

 

It appears somebody is looking for a direct, short route to the Mexican border from Chicago. I did a "which way" scenario a while back just for fun and games. Using the projected I-69 routing balanced against using current interstates, ie, I-57 to Memphis, I-40 to Little Rock, I-30 into Texas, I-35 to Laredo - or I-44 out St.Louis to Oklahoma City, then south on I-35; I found that the I-69 proposed route would be at least 300 miles longer than the above.

 

The smell of pork barrel pervades the air, to say the least.

 

An interesting aside - the portion marked I-69 that crosses northern Mississippi between I-55 and U S 61 leads right into the casinos just north of Tunica - I mean right into the parking lots. Wonder how that happened. Can we spell oooppps!!!!!

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

Edited by Alex Burr - hester_nec

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Wow! I had no idea so much discontent raged so near Ohio's borders. :o You folks just keep that ruckus out of here. Understand?

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