MARTINSVILLE, Ind. – Drivers who’ve spent nearly four years dealing with slow-moving, work zone traffic between Martinsville and Bloomington will soon be able to drive 70 miles per hour on the new stretch of I-69.
The Indiana Department of Transportation says construction and paving on Section 5 of the I-69 project is “substantially complete,” so the 21-mile work zone speed restriction will no longer be necessary as of Monday, Nov. 5.
“Now we’re looking forward to very soon being able to remove the work zone speed limit restrictions that encompass the entire corridor right now and put the traditional interstate speed limits in place for the corridor,” said INDOT spokesperson, Scott Manning.
“It’s been a long time, that’s for sure,” said I-69 commuter Larry Kesler. “When you’re down to one lane, then you’ve got two of them opened up at 70 miles an hour, it’s definitely going to make things quicker.”
“It seems like it’s been the ongoing project that’s just never gotten done,” said I-69 commuter Dan Ferran. “It’ll be nice to see traffic moving once again.”
John Burger, who often drives from Martinsville to southern Indiana, expects the increased speed limit to shave significant time off his commute.
“I’ve been traveling this section since they’ve started all the way to Evansville and it’s time,” Burger said. “Traveling back and forth between here and southern Indiana, Greene County, Evansville area, it’s going to take another half hour, 45 minutes off of it.”
Section 5 of the I-69 project has been hindered with multiple delays and missed deadlines since it started in late 2014. Manning says INDOT has worked hard to get the project back on track since taking over management from I-69 Management Partners in August, 2017.
Manning cautions that while substantial completion is a major milestone, drivers will still encounter isolated slow-downs and restrictions as work crews finish work on things like drainage, guard rails and signage.
“There may be a lane restriction in place and there will be a work zone speed restriction in place and there will be law enforcement watching,” Manning said.
With Section 5 nearly complete, INDOT is now looking to the start of construction of Section 6, between Martinsville and Indianapolis. Manning says construction will start this spring on several local roads in Martinsville. That work will be focused on getting State Road 37 prepared to be transformed into I-69. Construction on the main line of Section 6 is expected to start in 2020.