EVANSVILLE — The Indiana Department of Transportation on Friday revealed its reasoning for its "preferred" route for the Mid-States Corridor Project in an environmental impact statement.

Alternative Route P's western option, which extends 54 miles from Interstate 64/U.S. 231 in Dubois, Martin and Daviess counties before ending at Interstate 69 just north of the Crane naval base, has the "lowest impacts to environmental resources and lowest cost" of the three routes (P, M, and O) considered as adequately addressing the project's needs and benefits.

In an email accompanying the impact statement's release, project spokeswoman Mindy Peterson said the route has "low level of impacts to several key resources including the smallest impacts to wetlands and no impacts to karst features (caves, sinkholes, springs)."

More:INDOT tabs 'preferred route' for controversial Mid-States Corridor through SW Indiana

In general, however, it's not the route with the smallest amount of environmental impacts of the five routes chosen for detailed study (Options B, C, M, O, P).

Routes B and C, which would create new alignment corridors running through western Dubois County and into the heart of Daviess County, had less total acreage impacts than Route P. Route B's total impact ranged from 2,220-2,525 acres and Route C's total impact ranged from 1,900-2,403 acres.

Mid-States Corridor Route P

Route P, on the other hand, has a potential total impact ranging from 2,497-3,226 acres. Its potential impact was higher in every land-use category ("Forests," "Agriculture," "Developed" and "Other") than options B and C. It also could cause 109-149 potential relocations of residences, businesses and farms along its route, more than 20 more than options B and C on the low-end and 30-40 more on the high-end.

 Route P also affects more protected-species territory than options B and C.

The impact statement determined Alternative P as having "moderate" impacts to key natural resources, often higher than options B and C but lower than options M and O. According to the impact statement, it performed "highly" in several of the project's benefit goals, including:

  • • The sum of time saved to key destinations (25 to 43 minutes)
  • • The sum of time saved to major multi-modal centers at (23 to 35 minutes) and
  • • Annual truck hours saved at (8,400 to 36,850 hours)

Option P has a potential cost ranging from $735 million to $1 billion, which is lower than options M and O by about $300 million. 

"The purpose of the Mid-States Corridor project is to provide an improved transportation link between the US 231/SR 66 intersection and I-69," Peterson wrote in an email. "It improves business and regional connectivity in Dubois County and Southern Indiana and improves highway connections to existing major multi-modal locations from southern Indiana."

Public hearings and comment period

INDOT will have two public hearings to field comments from residents, according to Peterson's email. The first will take place April 26 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. EST at WestGate Academy in Odon, Indiana. The second will be April 28 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Jasper Arts Center on the Vincennes University Jasper campus.

Those who can’t make the hearings can submit written comments via mail, email and the project's website. A copy of the environmental impact statement can be found here.

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