In all Daviess County has seen more than 250,000 square feet of new construction get underway since the highway opened, and officials say that from the WestGate@Crane Tech Park to Washington the county has around 225-250 job openings in virtually every economic sector. “If you are looking for work Daviess County just might be the area for you,” said Arnold.
Officials say the new highway is also having a positive impact on existing industry. “Sometimes it’s hard to identify all of the benefits,” said Arnold. “I think it is safe to say that all of our businesses in the I-69 corridor are operating more safely and less expensively, now.”
“I think I-69 is a really big benefit for companies like Perdue and GPC in terms of getting raw goods in and finished products out to market,” added Cox.
As positive as the economic growth has been in the first year, officials are convinced things are just beginning. “One of the things we have to do is to get the infrastructure in place that will support more growth,” said Arnold. “We are working on sewer and water projects and connector roads. We would have loved to have had those in place when I-69 opened but when the state put the road on a fast track we just didn’t have the time to get those done. Once those pieces go into place I think we will see a lot more action.”
Officials also believe there are other factors concerning I-69 that will encourage more growth. The highway still is not connected by a bridge at Evansville to the interstate system being developed in Kentucky and the leg north of Crane to SR 37 still is not due for completion until the end of the year.
“When the section from Bloomington to Crane is finished people will see that as the next best thing to having an interstate to Indianapolis because 37 is already four lanes with very few stop lights,” said Arnold. “They are also working on the bridge issue. Companies take a longer outlook and if they believe it will get built they will consider the area.”