Updated: Friday, 19 Oct 2012, 7:09 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 19 Oct 2012, 7:09 PM EDT
WASHINGTON, IND. (WTHI) - The anticipation is growing in southern Indiana for the opening of a new interstate highway.
Governor Mitch Daniels has proclaimed October 20th as I69 Communities Day.
Towns along the highway's route are putting together day long events to let the public get a peek at the progress.
Officials and family members got a jump start on a weekend full of events celebrating I69 with a dedication of the bridges over the White River.
The 2 bridges are named for local medal of honor winners Private Richard Taylor and Lieutenant Colonel Don Faith, Junior.
The small gathering was just a start for what community leaders have planned.
"Community days all along the corridor, we have 5 great locations planned with lots of activities, family friendly," said Cher Elliott with INDOT. "Lots of fun for everyone to come.
"We're really happy about that," added Samantha Bobbitt with the Daviess County Chamber of Commerce. "We have a theme of 'Gateway to the Past, Roadway to the Future.' That's what we believe I69 is for us. We know it's going to be a huge change for our area and we're ready to celebrate this weekend."
The celebrations are set all along i69 in Gibson, Pike, 2 here in Daviess County and one in Greene County.
While the events will get folks closer to the road, it still isn't quite ready to open yet.
"The contractors are committed to being open by the end of this year, and we look forward to getting it open just as soon as possible," said Elliott. "We'll continue to push forward. The contractors are working diligently to get this open just as soon as we can."
"We know it's going to bring a lot of industry and growth here," said Bobbitt, "so we're ready for it. It's something to celebrate."
And that's what people will be doing along the highway this weekend.
The events will be free, but organizers are asking attendees to bring canned goods to help local food pantries.
I-69 Community Day will represent the first time the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has permitted public access of this nature on an interstate under construction.
Some of the special activities will include: a Little Miss Interstate Pageant, a hot air balloon flyover, various games for kids, a special skydiving exhibition, ceremonial remarks, charity 5k runs, food vendors, chalk art, antique tractor displays, horse and buggy rides, corn hole, putting contests and more.
I-69 Community Day events are scheduled in five locations including:
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