Officials are expected to pick from one of three Interstate 69 bridge routes across the Ohio River by the end of this year – but to pay for it, drivers will be charged.
There are three options for the I-69 Ohio River Crossing (ORX) project. Two alternative routes will use the current Interstate 41 Twin Bridges in some capacity while the other route looks to not use the Twin Bridges at all. Using traffic forecasting to determine the demand on bridge access, all proposed alternative routes include six lanes for crossing the Ohio River. Whichever one is picked, tolling will be a part of the funding equation.
“An I-69 Bridge will be tolled if we are going move to construction,” ORX spokesperson Mindy Peterson says.
Peterson and her team want to know more about who might use the road before proceeding.
“Who would use a 69 bridge if it was tolled at this rate?” Peterson says. “And what would happen if there were a free option with a remaining U.S. 41 bridge? And what does that do to traffic and revenue projections?”
Indiana has limited the use of toll roads in the past examples being the Indiana Toll Road in the northern part of the state and bridges connecting Jeffersonville to Louisville. Gov. Eric Holcomb says while toll roads are still relatively rare in Indiana, he sees them as a solution for easing the state’s backlog of roadwork.
“These are success stories and have enabled us to build projects that have been sitting on shelves for literally decades,” Holcomb says.
Peterson says a team of Indiana and Kentucky officials would agree on whether to toll and how much the fee would be. The final plan for the I-69 Bridge is due by Dec. 1, but Peterson says the plan is on track to be complete this fall.