Mid-States considering 5 routes, 'no build' option

Christine Stephenson/The Herald
Local businesspeople and organization representatives filled the Huntingburg Event Center on Thursday for the annual Dubois Strong meeting. The event included updates about projects involving the county, including the Mid-States Corridor project.

By CHRISTINE STEPHENSON
cstephenson@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG — A recommended route for the Mid-States Corridor project is still on track to be identified by the end of 2021, with a “no build” option still being considered.

Project Manager Jason DuPont from Lochmueller Group presented an update on the project at the annual Dubois Strong meeting Thursday. Representatives from different businesses and organizations around Dubois County filled the Huntingburg Event Center to hear presentations from DuPont, as well as Dubois Strong President Ed Cole and Regional Opportunity Initiatives Inc. President Tina Peterson about different developments in the county.

The Mid-States Corridor is a proposed, four-lane, limited-access highway that would run north from Owensboro, Kentucky, and through Dubois County to connect to I-69. The section that is being focused on starts at U.S. 231 near I-64.

Despite delays due to COVID-19, Lochmueller Group is still set to release an environmental impact study that will compare cost, impacts and benefits of each route option and ultimately recommend a preferred corridor by the end of the year.

The route options were narrowed to five alternatives in 2019. Dubois County residents have expressed concern about the project, often stating that the new roads will take people’s land from them, cost taxpayers too much and hurt small businesses by diverting traffic from Jasper.

DuPont emphasized that a “no build” option has been considered throughout the process and has not been eliminated. The environmental impact study that will determine the preferred route is not only taking into consideration factors such as how the project will affect natural resources but also how it will affect residents in the area, both positively and negatively.

Those that want to keep up with updates on the project and offer feedback are encouraged to visit www.midstatescorridor.com, DuPont said. This website provides text and email alert opportunities and space for comments and questions.

“We’re happy to be able to speak at events like this and provide updates, but we really want to drive people to the website,” he said.

Additionally, feedback can be provided by calling 812-482-3116 or through the mail. The mailing address is Mid-States Corridor Project Office, Vincennes University Jasper Campus Administration Building, Room 216, 850 College Ave., Jasper, IN 47546. DuPont said the project office will be at this location at least until the end of the year.

After the preferred route is identified, there will be two public hearings and a formal comment period before the route is refined according to public feedback and finalized. This would then conclude the end of the first phase of the project, which DuPont estimated to take place in summer 2022. The dates and locations of the public hearings will be available on the website and on social media, such as Facebook at www.facebook.com/MidStatesCorridor/.

“We will certainly encourage you to engage at that point,” DuPont said.

Besides the “no build” option, there are still five routes being considered. Each route is known by a letter and has designated road types.

Route “B” connects to I-69 near Washington. It bypasses Huntingburg and Jasper to the west, runs northwest, west of Glendale Fish and Wildlife Area to connect to I-69 at a new interchange south of the U.S. 50 interchange. It is 34 miles long.

Route “C” connects to I-69 at the existing U.S. 50 interchange. It also bypasses Huntingburg and Jasper on the west and continues northwest. But it runs east of Glendale Fish and Wildlife Area and connects to I-69 at the existing U.S. 50 interchange, using a portion of U.S. 50 just east of the interchange. It is 42 miles long.

Route “M,” which is 40 miles long, connects to State Road 37 near Bedford; State Road 37 connects to I-69 south of Bloomington. Route “M” bypasses Huntingburg and Jasper to the east, continues north, mostly parallel to U.S. 231. It bypasses Loogootee to the east and then swings northeast, either using or paralleling State Road 450, until it reaches State Road 37.

Route “O” connects to State Road 37 near Mitchell; State Road 37 connects to I-69 south of Bloomington. This route bypasses Huntingburg and Jasper to the east and runs northeast parallel to the current State Road 56. The route bypasses French Lick and West Baden to the south and ultimately connects to State Road 37 south of Mitchell. This route runs 51 miles.

Route “P” runs through the middle of Dubois County, connecting to I-69 at its existing U.S. 231 interchange. The route bypasses Huntingburg and Jasper to the east and continues north, running parallel to and east of U.S. 231. A section of the route bypasses Loogootee to the east, but another section shows it also possibly bypassing the city to the west. Route “P” connects to I-69 at its existing U.S. 231 interchange. It is 54 miles long.




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