A project originally intended to be completed over 50 years ago will finally become a reality for the city of Boonville.
Late last week, Indiana Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann announced that construction of a north-south bypass around Boonville using part of Indiana State Road 61 is set to begin in the spring of 2015.
Originally announced as an intended project by the Indiana Department of Highways in 1958, the project was designed to help ease potential traffic issues stemming from coal truck traffic for the Alcoa Warrick operations plant, which was being built at the time.
Boonville is stationed between northern Warrick County corn fields and the Alcoa smelter located on the Ohio River. Currently, coal trucks have to travel along State Road 61 directly through the square of Boonville. This has been causing damage to the historic buildings of the city as well as leaving coal dust in layers behind.
The Indiana Department of Transportation had not been planning to take bids on the project until the middle of 2015, but that process is now pushed forward six months after pressure from state and federal officials as well as additional funding being allocated.
Boonville mayor Pam Hendrickson called the announcement very satisfying for the city and says Ellspermann has championed the project over her short time as Lt. Governor.
INDOT Vincennes District media relations director Cher Elliott says about 75 parcels of land will need to be secured as right of way, 10 of which have already been provided by Alcoa. Elliott also says three homes will have to be razed during the construction process. Elliott says the newly proposed route will take traffic to the west of the city and will connect with State Road 62 to the north and State Road 261 from the south. Three roundabouts will also be added as part of the project to aid with traffic flow.
The bypass will span just over 4 miles and will cost 14 million dollars. The project is anticipated to be completed in December of 2016.