Contract awarded on contentious I-69 section

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The state highway department says it will cost less than expected to build part of a hotly contested section of the Interstate 69 extension through southern Indiana.

The agency has awarded a $57.5 million contract for construction of a four-mile stretch in southern Monroe County near Bloomington. The agency says that's 16 percent less than engineers estimated.

The section is part of I-69's route from near the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center to Indiana 37 south of Bloomington. Opposition group leader Thomas Tokarski tells The Herald-Times he believes the project will cause extreme environmental destruction for minor economic benefits.

Other contracts for Monroe County work are to be awarded by year's end.

A nearly 70-mile stretch of I-69 from near Evansville to Crane is expected to open this year.

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