Updated: Monday, 05 Nov 2012, 10:45 PM EST
Published : Monday, 05 Nov 2012, 10:45 PM EST
VINCENNES, IND. (WTHI) - A new highway touted as a job creator for the Wabash Valley might wind up shifting some jobs from one community to another.
A 67-mile section of I69 is expected to open in 2 weeks connecting Evansville to Crane.
The new road is expected to change traffic patterns that will have an impact on service sector jobs in the area.
Construction crews near Washington are putting some of the finishing pieces on the $600-million construction of I69.
The state is expected to open a large section of the highway on November 19th.
Officials in nearby Vincennes though worry that the new road will pull away some jobs from the gas, food and hotel industry.
"I think it will pull some traffic off of 41, of course which we sit directly on, so from the standpoint of local commercial and retail it may have even a little bit of a negative impact," said Gary Gentry with the Knox County Development Corporation.
Vincennes officials tried to convince the state to upgrade US 41 and make that road I69, but the project went in a different direction.
It's going to take a while to determine what kind of impact the new interstate will have on the travel and tourism industry in Knox County, but in the big picture officials say the highway may turn out to be a good thing even as far away as Vincennes.
"Economies of the region are much more important that individual areas," said Gentry, "so I think overall it's going to be a positive thing for southwestern Indiana."
That's because the overall projection is that the interstate will bring jobs and development along its corridor and that nearby communities like Vincennes will also be able to link into that growth.
Knox County officials say they may not know the full impact of I-69 on the travel sector of their economy until after the section connecting Crane to Bloomington is completed in 2014.
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