Kentucky, Indiana Officials Break Ground On New Ohio River Project

Local and state representatives from Kentucky and Indiana turned the first shovels of dirt June 22 for the new Interstate 69 bridge crossing the Ohio River between Henderson, Ky., and Evansville, Ind.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray, Henderson Mayor Steve Austin, Henderson County Judge-Executive Brad Schneider and Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke participated in the ceremony, gathering at the site of the future U.S. 41 and I-69 interchange in Henderson.

“This is a monumental day,” Beshear said. “My family roots in western Kentucky go back for generations. I know how long people in this area have waited to see this bridge, and I know how much it means to them. That’s why completing this important interstate connection has been a priority for my administration. The I-69 Ohio River crossing will mean improved travel and increased opportunities in western Kentucky and beyond. It gives me a lot of pride to proclaim to the people of western Kentucky that ‘We’re off!’ Today is the first step toward completing this critical connection.”

The Ohio River crossing is divided into three sections for construction. The first section focuses on improvements in Henderson and extends from Ky. 425 to U.S. 60. It includes an extension of more than six miles of I-69, new interchanges with U.S 41 and U.S. 60 and a reconstructed Ky. 351 interchange. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is overseeing the Section 1 project with construction beginning in earnest this summer and continuing through 2025.

The second stage of the project is a bistate project between Indiana and Kentucky that will complete the I-69 connection from U.S. 60 in Henderson to I-69 in Evansville, which includes the new river crossing. Design is expected to begin in 2025 with construction anticipated to begin in 2027 and continue through 2031. Both states continue to look for opportunities to accelerate that timeline.

Section 3 is the bridge approach construction in Indiana. Design work and preconstruction activities are underway. The Indiana Department of Transportation is overseeing this section, and construction is expected to begin in 2024 and end in 2027.

“This is a significant year for Henderson as we mark our 225th anniversary,” Austin said. “In a year that we’re celebrating the history of Henderson, it’s only fitting that we break ground on this important project. The I-69 Ohio River crossing will hold a prominent spot in Henderson’s history because of what it will mean to our city. We’ll have a safer way for our citizens to cross the Ohio River, a faster way to move goods and a better connection for our communities.”

Beshear said the announcement follows a historic investment of $250 million in his upcoming budget for major transportation infrastructure projects. The general fund dollars target three projects: the Brent Spence companion bridge project, the I-69 Ohio River Crossing in Henderson and the completion of the Mountain Parkway expansion project. The one-time funds are meant to give Kentucky the flexibility to meet state match requirements for expected federal grants.