Should a new interstate highway go around the east or west side of the metropolitan area? What are the opportunities and constraints of economic development opportunities, environmental concerns and cost considerations? These were questions facing the Evansville, Indiana region in considering the alignment for a new I-69 freeway. To address these questions, Indiana DOT, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Evansville Metropolitan Planning Organization commissioned an Environmental Impact Study, led by HTNB Corp., Bernarden Lochmueller, University of Kentucky, Economic Development Research (EDR) Group, and others.
The Environmental Impact study focused on alternatives for the connection between the Breathitt Parkway (formerly Pennyrile Parkway) south of the City and a larger, national plan to connect Canada, the United States and Mexico by a new Interstate highway eventually stretching from Texas to Michigan.
The work by EDR Group focuses on economic development impacts: (a) With development alternative I-69 alignments, will industry be attracted to project study area over other locations? (b) Will they affect study area's ability to gain a greater share of some national industries?
EDR Group staff addressed these issues through a three-part strategy: (1) site visits and interviews concerning economic development, land use, real estate and transportation conditions, (2) economic base analysis to identify business growth and attraction opportunities and (3) application of REMI economic model to forecast relationships between business cost, job creation and population growth impacts.
The Draft Report concluded that eastern alternative 2B is preferred because it has less adverse impact, is less costly and also offers significant economic development opportunities compared to other options.
Executive Summary (pdf 3MB)