Crews finish clearing path for new I-69 stretch


Workers and machines have finished clearing trees from the path of one of the final stretches of the Interstate 69 extension in southern Indiana.

Crews worked long hours and weekends to clear the 27-mile swath from U.S. 231 in Greene County and Indiana 37 near Bloomington.

The job was completed by the March 31 deadline. The Herald-Times reports tree cutting isn't allowed between April 1 and Nov. 15 under a federal-state deal designed to protect the endangered Indiana bat during roosting season.

The state also is restoring or preserving 4,100 acres of wetlands, streams and forests.

The felled trees still must be chipped and removed to make way for construction.

If nothing interferes with construction, I-69 from Evansville to Bloomington should be completed by the end of 2014.

Opponents of the extension have fought it every step of the way. They say highway officials used outdated air emissions data in demonstrating that part of the highway now under construction complies with the Clean Air Act.

Highway opponents say state and federal officials used 2004 vehicular emissions data for Greene County in an environmental report to show that emissions were within required limits, even though newer data from 2009 showed higher estimated emissions levels.

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