The Indiana Department of Transportation (InDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recently announced the release of the Tier 2 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for I-69 Section 5, which will improve safety and travel times on the existing State Road 37 corridor from just south of Bloomington to SR 39 near Martinsville. InDOT will conduct a public hearing on the DEIS on Thursday, December 6th at the Monroe County Fairgrounds Auditorium at 5700 W. Airport Road, just west of the SR 45 and Airport Road intersection in Bloomington. Doors open at 5:30pm and the formal presentation begins at 6:30pm.
Pending approval by FHWA, I-69 Section 5 could begin construction as early as 2013 with safety improvements to the existing SR 37 in Bloomington. Although currently not scheduled, InDOT officials anticipate property acquisition to begin in summer 2013, after the FEIS is complete and the ROD is issued.
InDOT selected hybrid Alternative 8 as preferred for Section 5, which is comprised of desirable features of Alternatives 5, 6, and 7, and further refined to minimize impacts, costs, and incorporate engineering and safety design consideration.
Preferred alternative 8 uses the existing SR 37 ROW, with additional adjacent acreage required based on the design requirements and topography. Interchanges are located at Fullerton Pike, Tapp Road/SR 45/2nd St., SR 48/3rd St, SR 46, Walnut St., Sample Rd, and Liberty Church Road. In addition, overpasses are located at Rockport Rd, Vernal Pike, Arlington Rd, Kinser Pike, and Chambers Pike. Local access roads and new connections to existing local roads are provided in portions of the Section 5 corridor where drives and other roads currently connecting to existing SR 37. These are located primarily north of Walnut St. to the northern project terminus.
Project cost for Preferred Alternative 8 option A is $546M, and option B is $500M (option A considers costs with full interchanges while option B considers costs with partial interchanges). InDOT estimates 151 residential displacements and 32 business relocations for preferred alternative 8.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR PROPERTY OWNERS?
Property owners affected by the project should know that the government is like any buyer, it will want to purchase your property as cheaply as it can. When the government makes you an offer, it will tell you that it represents full market value. It may even show you an appraisal. But be aware, appraisals can vary and the governments may be a low one. Do not feel pressured to sell your property outright or accept less than you are entitled to receive.
Under Indiana eminent domain law, the government is required by law to pay you just compensation for your property. Typically, an owner will only receive just compensation by allowing condemnation to occur. In condemnation an owner can show that the rules for highest and best use will produce a higher price than the amount offered by the government. If you’re instincts tell you the offer is too low, it probably is. Do not feel pressured to accept a lesser amount by the threat of eminent domain. LEARN MORE about the importance of hiring an appraiser for eminent domain cases, Indiana Eminent Domain Law, and contact us for more information.