The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Monday, 21 July 2014 10:40cat

I-69 Plan Would Cut Cost Nearly In Half

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BridgeLink's proposed route for 1-69 BridgeLink's proposed route for 1-69 Evansville Courier and Press

The Kentucky Department of Transportation has been trying to build a new bridge on I-69 over the Ohio River for many years. The bridge would link Henderson, Kentucky and Evansville, Indiana. When the bridge was first being discussed a decade ago, a $1.4 billion price tag was the popular estimate for the bridge’s cost. This cost estimate proved prohibitive for any discussion of building the bridge as taxpayers felt it was going to be far too expensive to complete the project.  Now, however, a Henderson-Evansville I-69 advocacy group is presenting a modified vision of the project that would lower the cost to $800 million.

BridgeLink, the group who came up with the modified plan, would lower the cost of the bridge in two main ways. The first cost reduction would come from making the bridge four-lanes instead of six-lanes. This would change the overall width from 130 feet to 83 feet. The second change would be removing a three mile stretch of new I-69 road that would be used to bypass the Henderson city limits and connect more directly with the Pennyrile Parkway Bridge. This would reduce the amount of new roads that needed to be constructed from 9.2 miles to 6.2 miles. It would also reduce the amount of interchanges that needed to be built from five to three.  BridgeLink’s plan also reduces the design cost estimate and project contingency to “industry standards.

The BridgeLink plan was one of nine plans that were considered a decade ago. At the time, Kentucky Transit Cabinet engineers were worried about reducing the bridge’s capacity from six lanes to four lanes. However, a new bridge in St. Louis handles much more traffic than the I-69 bride would and it also has four lanes.  Bridgelink has presented their plan to the Governor’s of Indiana and Kentucky. They say that both governors are on board and the only thing holding up the project is figuring out how to finance the bridge. Toll revenue from the bridge could reach $380 million over the next 20 years based on a toll of $1 for cars and $5 for heavy trucks. While BridgeLink continues to find ways to fund the bridge, they plan on moving forward and beginning an environmental impact study which should take 12 to 18 months to complete.


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