Major expansions to greet I-69 travelers through year’s end
Motorists who travel Interstate 69 will soon see changes – in northeast Indiana and beyond.
Eleven years after the Indiana Department of Transportation closed the DeKalb County rest stops south of Auburn, a new and improved rest area on the northbound side is slated to open in mid-November. Though much of the exterior work is completed, contractors continue to work inside the building. Though INDOT had previously said the northbound rest stop just north of Markle would close when the new one opens, spokeswoman Toni Mayo said the Markle rest area will remain open.
There are no plans, though, to reopen the southbound rest areas near Markle and in DeKalb.
In coming weeks, workers will begin adding new mile markers and exit numbers to I-69 from Indianapolis to the Michigan state line. The 0 mile baseline in Indianapolis will move to Evansville in recognition of the I-69 extension, and 200 miles will be added to the mile markers and exit numbers north of the capital city.
Meanwhile, INDOT said a major portion of the new I-69 extension – from just north of Evansville to the Crane Naval base southwest of Bloomington – is on track to open before years end. The wild card that could delay completion is the availability of water to mix concrete during the extended drought.
Proponents of the I-69 extension are confident that sections from Bloomington to Martinsville along Indiana 37 and Martinsville to Indianapolis will follow in the next few years, though the last segment may well be the focus of intense debate.
And the first 55 miles of I-69 in Kentucky will be relatively easy – the 38 miles of the former Western Kentucky Parkway are already designated as I-69 and will be upgraded in some sections.
Next, the 17 miles shared with Interstate 24 will simply be labeled as I-69 and I-24.