The repeatedly-delayed I-69 Section 5 project will be taken over by the state of Indiana by July 31.
The project, which upgrades the stretch of Ind. 37 from Martinsville to Bloomington to interstate standards, will be turned over to the Indiana Department of Transportation, according to a press release issued by the Indiana Finance Authority and INDOT.
Settlement agreements were reached between the IFA and I-69 Development Partners and its bond holders on June 16.
Although work on Sections 1-4 has already concluded, the Section 5 completion date has been pushed back four times, most recently to Aug. 2018. Bloomington city officials have expressed concern over the many accidents and injuries that have resulted from the project.
“It has been my position for some time that the most viable option for getting I-69 Section 5 completed as soon as possible would be for the state to take control of the project,” said John Hamilton, the mayor of Bloomington, in a statement released from the mayor’s office.
However, he reiterated his concern for the safety of the project.
“I remain deeply concerned about traveler and worker safety throughout the construction zone. I urge drivers to continue to use extreme caution and strictly observe all posted advisories and speed limits,” he said.
The estimated cost of the project will go down after it is transferred to INDOT, going from an estimated $590 million to $560 million, said Public Finance Director Dan Huge in the press release.
This is made possible by the IFA issuing lower interest high revenue bonds. These bonds, rated as AA+, will replace the developer’s private activity BBB- bonds.
As part of the settlement, I-69 Development Partners will also provide $12 million to bondholders and $50 million to the IFA, according to the release.
“I am delighted for Indiana taxpayers that we have reached an agreement for the State to assume control and finish this project,” Governor Eric J. Holcomb said in the press release.
The more than 30 subcontractors currently working on the project will continue working under INDOT’s leadership.
“INDOT’s first task is to ensure a smooth transition of project teams,” Commissioner Joe McGuiness said in the press release. “As we work through those initial changes, construction work that is currently underway will continue. More important, there will be no lapse in the safety and mobility operations that keep traffic moving and the work zone safe.”
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