EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- Gov. Frank O'Bannon scheduled a news conference today to announce the state's recommendation for the planned Interstate 69 extension through southwestern Indiana.
The announcement comes after 60 years of debate and at least 15 studies over where -- or whether -- the highway should be built.
One plan would take the road through Clay County on I-70.
Picking a route is a key development because after receiving approval from the Federal Highway Administration the state can begin plotting each twist and turn, buying land and eventually start construction.
The interstate link will be part of the "NAFTA Superhighway" through the central United States that connects Canada and Mexico.
State highway officials in July released a list of five finalist routes. That list attracted criticism because it did not include a route backed by environmentalists that follows the four-lane U.S. 41 north from Evansville to Terre Haute and then east to Indianapolis on I-70.
Civic leaders in Evansville have pushed for the construction of a more direct route to provide easier access for residents to the state capital and spur economic development.
Many opponents from the Bloomington and Terre Haute areas, however, have said the travel time saved was not worth the environmental damage and questioned how many jobs the highway would attract.
On the Net:
I-69 Official Web site: http://www.i69indyevn.org
Environmental Law and Policy Center: