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Martinsville highway closure planned for I-69 extension work

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — State highway officials expect to close a section of the main route between Indianapolis and Bloomington for 10 months in 2021 during work on the next stage of the Interstate 69 extension project.

The Indiana Department of Transportation has awarded a nearly $165 million contract for upgrading Indiana 37 for six miles through Martinsville as part of the I-69 work. Crews will begin work this year to alternate routes for additional traffic around Martinsville ahead of the highway’s closure, officials said.

“The full closure saves us an entire construction season, so we can make mainline improvements in one season instead of two,” said Sarah Rubin, INDOT’s deputy director for the highway project.

Construction plans include widening the highway, building four interchanges and adding noise barriers.

Martinsville Mayor Kenny Costin said he was concerned about increased traffic on city streets during the closure, the impact on businesses along the highway and frustration among drivers traveling to Indiana University’s Bloomington campus.

“I understand their reasoning to do it, but it is going to really make people not want to come through Martinsville once this comes,” Costin said.

The I-69 extension has been under construction since 2008 and currently runs from Evansville to Martinsville. State officials estimate it will cost $1.5 billion for upgrading 26 miles (41.8 kilometers) of the current Indiana 37 corridor between Martinsville on I-465 on the southwest side of Indianapolis. The final leg of the I-69 project is expected to be open by late 2024.

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