We started our INDOT tour heading north on Interstate 69 in Gibson county. Our first stop, the State Road 64 overpass near Oakland City. Crews are moving dirt, and paving the way for new exit ramps. Next week, crews will be driving under the overpass.
"Yeah, the drought this year has really helped us out. We haven't lost very few days to rain. Patoka River was effected by flooding early up to about February but the dry weather has just been a blessing for us," Brian Malone said.
Guardrails are being installed, bridge walls are being poured, and crews are finishing up the shoulders and medians. New interstate signs are going up making the project more of a reality.
But there's one thing that really catches your eye. In some areas, the interstate changes from concrete to asphalt. INDOT says it's saving tax payer dollars by having the asphalt and concrete companies compete. All of the contractors chose concrete. But in some areas, where there is underground mining and wetlands, asphalt is preferred.
"We have ways to make it more stable with laying down extra layers of gravel, or doing treated lime that will actually make the soil itself a more firm surface, but in order to really know when that work is needed, we have to do quality investigations and that's what we've done and in some areas based upon our geotechnical investigation, determined that asphalt was a necessity," Will Wingfield said.
Once this part of I-69 is open to drivers, officials say people in Oakland City will have better access to healthcare, future development, and new jobs.
Our final stop on the tour is the Patoka River Bridge. The bridge crosses the Patoka Wildlife Refuge and the Patoka River. It's located north of Oakland City. INDOT says the Patoka River Bridge is nearly one mile, which makes it the longest bridge from this stretch of the project to Crane. It's another step closer to reaching the big milestone.
INDOT says depending on the weather, construction from Evansville to Crane should be finished by mid November.