I-69 connects Southern Indiana to the North American Economy
Expanding projects at regional major east/west and north/south logistics and manufacturing hub continue to promote economic growth.
WASHINGTON, Indiana – Strategic connections on the new Indiana section of I-69 continue to create and drive new opportunities for economic growth, particularly at the Washington, Indiana interchange at exit 62. Exit 62 is the southern midpoint between Bloomington and Evansville, Indiana on the new sections of I-69. The recent opening of Indiana Section Four creates opportunities for trans-continental commerce, according to Ron Arnold, executive director of the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC).
The Daviess County I-69 interchange at exit 62 has attracted considerable attention from developers, expansion professionals and site selectors, according to Becky Skillman, CEO of Radius Indiana. Within 14 months, upwards of $100 million in new investments, development and construction have been made or committed to in Washington. These investments include expansions of companies with international operations who require strategic transportation and logistics connectivity.
“Having high-quality infrastructure in place makes a strategic difference for a company seeking a new location to expand and grow,” said Skillman, who heads up the eight- county regional partnership in south-central Indiana. “The city of Washington and Daviess County have effectively moved to leverage this critical asset for growth creation.”
The vision that began in Washington, Indiana to build the Mid-Continent Highway (I-69) is becoming a reality. Within the next 15 years it is anticipated that 82% of the FHWA High Priority Corridor 18 will be completed and open to traffic.
State officials, including Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, formally opened Section Four of I-69 in December 2015. The opening established interstate access to the $2 billion Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) and the WestGate at Crane Technology Park are now connected through the new interstate. Section Five is under construction north toward Indianapolis, and environmental studies are being performed on Section Six, the final leg into the Indiana capital city.
In Canada, the Mid-Continent Highway is completed from Toronto, Canada to Point Edward, Canada. In the upper Midwest, the highway is completed from Port Huron, Michigan to Indianapolis, Indiana. On December 9, 2015 Indiana Section 4 of I-69 was opened to traffic and now connects Evansville, Indiana to Indianapolis, Indiana. In Kentucky, segments of the highway are currently open to traffic. In Tennessee, sections of the highway have been completed around Memphis, Tennessee. In Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana various segments of I-69 are under development or open. In Texas, segments of I-69 are now open to traffic.
For the past 28 years, the Mid-Continent Highway has been under continuous construction throughout North America.
“The recent further opening of Interstate 69 now connects southwestern Indiana to the center of the State,” said Joe Wellman, Mayor of Washington. “The benefit to Washington is the connection it provides us to all of Indiana and indeed the Midwest. Traffic counts and business inquiries are growing exponentially just since November.”
Earlier in 2015 Daviess County announced plans for a $10 million economic development project that will include an expandable $2 million spec shell facility and railroad cross-dock at the interchange of I-69 and U.S. 50/150 in Washington. Accelerated job creation, new corporate attraction, and regional business expansion represent expected outcomes of this project, according to Phil O’Haver, vice chairman of the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation.
Referencing the facility and railroad project, U.S. Senator Dan Coats notes the I-69-related expansion “once again demonstrates that Indiana is a great place to do business, and I want to congratulate Daviess County on moving forward with this project and continuing our state’s positive momentum.”
“Here in the Crossroads of America, we recognize that roads mean jobs,” said Governor Pence about the expansion project earlier in 2015. “With the continued construction of I-69 through southern Indiana, economic momentum is building across the region. And as I-69 grows, businesses will have a ready-made place to operate, grow and hire Hoosiers with this facility in Daviess County. As the home of growing infrastructure and a business-friendly tax and regulatory environment, Indiana is a state that works.”
The new 40,000 sq. ft. facility, located on a 23-acre plot on the west side of I-69, is expandable to 80,000 sq. ft. and will be built to help attract future commercial operations. The new railroad cross-dock facility, which will allow the direct loading of semi-trailers and railroad cars, will connect companies to the existing east/west CSX Class 1 rail line. The new supply chain facility will help serve logistics needs and increase efficiencies for regional companies in the area, including GPC (Grain Processing Corporation) and Alliance Barrier Films.
Commenting on how I-69 is contributing to the economy of southwest Indiana, Congressman Larry Bucshon noted: “Many people have worked diligently to make I-69 possible in southwest Indiana, and it is gratifying to see communities like Washington strive to maximize this advantage for the benefit of the region. Creating new rail supply chain facilities are a natural to promote new opportunities– I look forward to jointly supporting continued growth in the region.”
The on-site rail cross-dock is expected to encourage the attraction and expansion of companies with specialty needs in transportation, logistics and distribution. The new rail-served industrial site was designed to be attractive to companies requiring advanced storage and transfer needs.
Concluded Mayor Wellman: “We are beginning to witness the very benefits we promoted for the development of I-69 over the past 3 or 4 decades. I have never been more optimistic about the future of Washington and Daviess County than I am right now.”