With a cut of a ribbon, I-69 was open Monday.
The dream of many in Daviess County and southwest Indiana was realized as Gov. Mitch Daniels led the opening parade up the 67-mile stretch of new interstate from Evansville to NSWC Crane.
“It is a day of joy for me,” Daniels said. “I had no bigger one but I’ve had many of these including some recently.”
The general public was able to drive on the interstate Monday evening, as the barricades were lifted and the road officially opened an hour earlier than expected, at 5 p.m.
But before the public could drive on it, ribbon cuttings were held at the north and south entrances to the interstate with a lunch honoring I-69 workers. The lunch was held at Antioch Christian Church near Washington.
Daniels, riding in his motorcycle, was greeted at many of the Daviess County overpasses by groups of Amish, some Amish schoolchildren, waving at the parade of vehicles.
Speaking at the lunch was David Graham, one of the leaders of the push towards I-69 for Daviess County. He took his first ride on the interstate with his grandson. Graham said the road was built for three reasons.
“Jobs. The second reason was Jobs. And the third reason was Jobs,” Graham joked. “We want to make sure we are ready now that we have this part of the road completed.”
Graham said it was also important for the interstate to be completed to Indianapolis.
“The grains that are in Daviess County can be loaded up and taken to Indianapolis and from there be taken to all directions around the globe,” Graham said.
Another I-69 leader honored at the Antioch lunch was the late John Newland. Newland was the head of the Mid-Continent Highway Coalition but passed away this year before the interstate’s completion. John’s son Mark Newland said his father would be looking from above and enjoy the road’s completion.
“As was his custom, he would have deflected any credit towards himself and directed towards those who made this happen,” Mark Newland said.
In his remarks both at Antioch and the north ribbon cutting at the U.S. 231 junction, Daniels mentioned the belief in moving forward. Something he believed had to be done for Indiana by building I-69.
“We are all in this together in this big and incredibly variable state,” Daniels said. “In the end, we all rise together. That is a message about I-69 to all corners of the state.”
Daniels made the decision in 2005 to build I-69 from Evansville to Crane by using funds earned from leasing the Indiana Toll Road. By Monday’s opening, construction costs were $300 million under estimates, according to an INDOT release.
Daniels relayed the story of Travis Burkhart, who was seriously injured while traveling to Evansville. He is still recovering, but was at the ceremony with his mother and father.
“She said to me ‘If I-69 would have been there years ago, my son wouldn’t have been injured,’” Daniels said. “The data says that in the next couple decades, an estimated 40,000 wrecks will not happen. Don’t tell me this (road) doesn’t save lives.”
The road will also save time traveling to Evansville, according to a Purdue University study. A report from the Joint Transportation Research Program said drivers will save 38 minutes one way.
“That’s an overachievement all by itself,” Daniels said.
Daniels, who held back some emotion at times, said the road also signified what he tried to do while governor, to “bring this state together.”
“There’s no bigger example than I-69 that we, frankly, walked on coals to help people to pull off the transaction that made this and 200 more projects like this possible,” Daniels said.
A ribbon cutting was also held in Evansville early Monday morning. Congressman Larry Bucshon, R-Newburgh, spoke during the ceremony. He commended Daniels and INDOT for their work.
“I am excited for the potential, especially for Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center, as we open the first three sections (Monday),” Bucshon said. “I can assure you, as long as I am in Congress, I will make it a priority to see I-69 is completed all the way to Indianapolis.”
Commander James M. Stewart of NSA Crane also spoke at the northern ribbon cutting. He said the impact will be immediate to Crane, by allowing goods to travel faster.
Daniels said after the ceremony it was “great fun.”
“The real joy of today was looking at the faces of people who have worked so long and so hard,” Daniels said. “and knowing at long last their efforts were rewarded.”
With a cut of a ribbon, I-69 was open Monday.
- Local News
WHS picks up a 1st and 2ndVINCENNES — On Wednesday, Washington finished second to Vincennes Rivet in a three-team match with North Daviess. Cheyenne Jones and Haven Lunsford led the Hatchets as both girls shot a 45, followed by Natalya Meinhart (47),
- State group looks to help with sale of landmark Washington Home
- Friday's Police Report
- Rowdy Nation to raise money for Loogootee pool
- Ballots set for school board elections
- Sports Briefs
Juanita Rose Leonard Carnahan, 90, of Washington, went to be with the Lord at 3 a.m. Friday at Prairie Village Living Center.Born March 19, 1924, in Washington, she was the daughter of Ralph and Essie Lee (Walker) Leonard.She attended Washington High
- Saturday's Funeral Notices
- Rita Lannan
- Norman England
- Juanita Carnahan
- Local Sports
Hatchets drop opener to Boonville
Washington coach Kelly Brashear got the first look at the present and future of his football program Friday night at Hatchet Hollow. And while the present struggled against a veteran Boonville squad on a hot and humid opening night, the future the pr
- Cougars, Bays topple Tecumseh in last second victory
- Area volleyball teams ready to hit the court
- Hatchet boys finish second in four-team meet
- WHS takes down B-R, 4-1
- Hatchets drop opener to Boonville
- Community News
Saturday's Area Briefs
Washington City Council to meetThe Washington City Council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday in Council Chambers, 200 Harned Ave. Items included on the agenda: final reading of ordinances dedicating streets in three subdivisions, fixing compensation of o
- MAP: Local Yard Sales
- Recent real estate transfers
- Barber earns top honors at state fair
- Washington Nursing Center holds Towers breakfast
- Saturday's Area Briefs
Is this a commercial for batting gloves or a baseball game?
Major league baseball desperately needs to speed up the action. Here's a place to start: Nix the mind-numbing ritual of hitters who first adjust the right batting glove, then the left one, after every single pitch.
August 21, 2014 1 Photo
- The Simpsons still going strong
- Does Twitter need a censor?
- Is this a commercial for batting gloves or a baseball game?
Movie preview: “Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For”
Plot: Co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller reunite to bring Miller’s “Sin City” graphic novels back to the screen. Weaving together two of Miller’s classic stories with new tales, the town’s most hard boiled citizens cross paths with some of its more notorious inhabitants.
- Movie preview: “If I Stay”
- Movie preview: “When The Game Stands Tall”
- Movie preview: “Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For”
New washtimesherald.com will give readers more ways to enjoy
Starting Monday, our www.washtimesherald.com desktop web and mobile site will launch with a new design which we believe will enhance your reading and interactive experience. The under construction phase has not been easy. Change is never stress-free.
- Update on Oak Grove Cemetery situation
- LETTER: Salaries are a matter of perspective
- Snails do have some issues
- Melon time is the best time of the year
- New washtimesherald.com will give readers more ways to enjoy
- Clicker Ticker
- Times Herald Video
- You Need To Know Now!