Updated: Friday, 02 Nov 2012, 11:43 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 02 Nov 2012, 11:43 PM EDT
WASHINGTON, IND. (WTHI) - A new interstate in southern Indiana will be open in time to handle Thanksgiving travelers.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels announced the 67 mile portion of I69 connecting Crane to Evansville will be open to traffic on November 19th.
The project will be ahead of schedule and well under budget.
Construction crews outside of Washington are scrambling to get I69 finished and ready for traffic.
The project was supposed to open sometime by the end of this year.
Now, the date is set for November 19th, weeks ahead of schedule.
State officials say everything from the weather to the contractors cooperated to get the highway open early.
"Everyone involved has worked very hard to make this deadline and of course we wanted to get it open as soon as we can," said Cher Elliott with INDOT. "We're just as excited as everyone else, but we've just had a great summer for weather."
Not only is the work on the section running ahead of schedule, the entire 67 mile section came in almost $100-million less than the $700-million estimate.
Officials say that even though the highway is going to be opening on the 19th of November there will still be some work to be done.
"A lot of these activities will still continue through the winter months as well as into the spring of next year," said Elliott.
The state expects to have a number of events along the roadway to officially open it on the 19th, but before evening arrives all of the barricades and gates will be down and I69 in the Wabash Valley will be open to traffic.
INDOT has also awarded 4 of the 5 contracts on the highway from Crane to Bloomington.
Work on that section of the road will begin in the spring and is expected to be finished by the end of 2014.
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