Ind. favors Dutch-led team for next I-69 section

INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana finance board tentatively chose a Dutch-led team Wednesday to design, build, finance and privately operate a 21-mile section of the Interstate 69 extension between Bloomington and Martinsville that is expected to cost $325 million.

The Indiana Finance Authority Board gave preliminary approval to a team called I-69 Development Partners and led by Isolux Infrastructure Netherlands B.V. The project will generally follow the current Indiana 37 corridor from south of Bloomington to the southern edge of Martinsville.

The Indiana Department of Transportation said the IFA Board will make a final determination on the contractor in early March. That choice is subject to review by the State Budget Committee before Gov. Mike Pence makes the final decision.

The first half of the planned 143-mile Evansville-to-Indianapolis I-69 extension opened in 2012, and runs 67 miles from near Evansville at Interstate 64 to near the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center southwest of Bloomington. Construction is underway on a 27-mile section between Crane and Bloomington that INDOT said is expected to open in phases late this year and early 2015.

Indiana devoted about $700 million on the I-69 extension. But with that money mostly spent, the state sought out a private contractor to line up its own financing to design, build and maintain the Bloomington-to-Martinsville segment under a public-private deal.

Construction on that section is expected to begin later this year, with the 21 miles scheduled to open by late 2016, INDOT said. The agency said the contract will limit the length and duration of lane closures to help maintain Indiana 37's traffic flow.

Gov. Pence said in a statement that he was dedicated to completing all 143 miles of the I-69 extension.

"I am firmly committed to finishing what we started with I-69 from Evansville to Indianapolis so products and people will be able to move even more freely," he said.

INDOT said the I-69 Development Partners team was tentatively chosen after technical and financial review teams with INDOT and the finance authority spent the past month evaluating and scoring the final project proposals submitted by four contracting teams.

Isolux has partnered with local contractors E&B Paving of Anderson, Force Construction Company of Columbus and Gradex Inc. of Indianapolis for the project.

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