Interstate Opponents Jam Public Hearing

Plans for an expanded Interstate 69 take the route through Marion, Johnson and Morgan counties.

People who would live near the new road had a chance to speak out Tuesday night in Martinsville.

The current road plan would turn existing State Road 37 into I-69. The Indiana Department of Transportation wants to have an eight- or six-lane highway with about 13 exits between Indianapolis and Martinsville, RTV6's Tanya Spencer reported.

Morgan County residents got an in-depth look at the plan.

"What they are seeing here this evening is their first opportunity to look at the potential interchanges between Indianapolis and Martinsville on I-69," said INDOT communications director Gary Abell.

Pendleton Town Council President Don Henderson said his town is proof that I-69 will bring jobs.

"The interstate system has really become what the waterways were in the 1800s," Henderson said. "That's where economic development is going to occur."

Despite the economic argument, residents at the meeting went to the podium one-by-one to express opposition to the plan on health, safety and cost concerns.

One opponent said that the improved road will also cause an increase in accidents.

"The air quality is going to diminish greatly in Morgan County. I have asthma already," another opponent said.

Another I-69 opponent said the state has trouble with the upkeep of existing roadways.

Several people expressed opposition to I-69 because of plans to make it a toll road to pay for it.

"A toll road, I think, is ridiculous. It's a highway that's already been paid by tax dollars. I don't think it needs to be added on to," one opponent said.

INDOT is currently working on acquiring land for the project. Groundbreaking is expected in 2008.

Print this article Back to Top