Frequently Asked Questions
The Mid-States Corridor Project examines an improved highway connection in southern Indiana. It would begin at SR 66 near the William H. Natcher Bridge crossing the Ohio River at Rockport, continue generally through the Huntingburg and Jasper area and extend north to connect to Interstate 69.
The Mid-States Corridor Regional Development Authority (RDA) and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) are conducting the required Tier 1 Environmental Study for the Mid-States Corridor Project. A recommended preferred corridor has been identified as part of the DEIS.
The RDA and INDOT initiated a study of the corridor under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The study is required for all federally-funded projects to assess environmental effects before making decisions concerning the construction of highways and other publicly-owned facilities.
The NEPA process includes:
- Analysis and comparison of the benefits, impacts and costs of a range of reasonable alternatives to identify a preferred corridor for the proposed facility
- Assessment of the social, economic and environmental impacts of each corridor, along with consideration of ways to avoid, minimize or mitigate impacts
- Identification of the project’s purpose and need and consideration of a variety of alternatives to meet both including improvements to and use of existing facilities and construction of new roadway facilities
- Analysis of a no-build alternative (Federal regulations require a no-build alternative remain under consideration throughout the Tier 1 study. It is the baseline for comparing the costs, impacts and benefits of other alternatives.)
- Public involvement, including opportunities to participate and comment
- Coordination and consultation with local, state and federal agencies
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) has identified a preferred corridor. Final approval of the preferred corridor will come from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) through the issuance of a Record of Decision (ROD).
Regulations allow NEPA studies for large, complex projects to be carried out in a two-staged, “tiered” process. During this Tier 1 study, “big picture” issues are addressed, while taking into account the full range of impacts. It includes fact-based analyses that will support informed decision-making on corridor-wide issues.
The Project Study Area is the region in which project alternatives may be located. It also includes areas which may experience changes in traffic patterns from the project. The Study Area includes Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Warrick, Pike, Daviess, Crawford, Orange, Martin, Lawrence, Greene and Monroe counties.
The purpose and need for the Mid-States Corridor project is to provide an improved transportation link between the US 231/Natcher Bridge and I-69 which accomplishes two primary purposes:
- Improve business and personal regional connectivity in Dubois County and Southern Indiana.
- Improve highway connections to existing multimodal locations from Southern Indiana.
Secondary purposes include crash reduction, localized congestion relief and supporting economic development.
Chapter 1 – Purpose and Need in the DEIS includes detailed analysis supporting this Purpose and Need.
Alternative P is identified as the Preferred Alternative in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement released in April 2022. Click here to review the DEIS and read more about the Preferred Alternative.
Alternative P improvements extend 54 miles from I-64/US 231 to I-69 at the existing US 231 interchange. Alternative P travels east of Huntingburg and Jasper, avoiding developed areas in those cities. It generally runs parallel to and west of US 231 in Martin and Daviess counties. It includes a western bypass of Loogootee and ends at the existing I-69 interchange at US 231. A total of nine local improvements along existing US 231 are included with the alternative.
Among the alternatives adequately addressing the Purpose and Need of the project (Alternatives P, M and O), Alternative P includes the lowest impacts to environmental resources and has the lowest cost. It also has a comparably low level of impacts to several key resources including the smallest impacts to wetlands and no impacts to karst features.
The DEIS is a detailed document that summarizes the Mid-States Corridor project’s study process, analysis and findings. The DEIS assesses the benefits, impacts and costs of the alternatives. It includes the basis for the selection of the preferred alternative and key commitments associated with the project.
The DEIS is posted on the project website. Hard copies are also available for review at several area locations including the Mid-States Project Office, INDOT offices in Vincennes and Indianapolis and 17 area libraries. Click here to review a list of locations.
The DEIS comment period runs through May 31, 2022. Comments can be made in person at one of two public hearings, through a comment form at the Project Office, by mail, by email (email@example.com) or directly through the project website.
All comment channels receive equal consideration. The Project Team will review all comments and responses to comments will be included in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).
Public hearings are being held near Crane and in Jasper, and each will include a public comment period:
Tuesday, April 26 Thursday, April 28
WestGate Academy (Crane) Jasper Arts Center
13598 East WestGate Drive 951 College Avenue
Odon, IN Jasper, IN
The hearings are 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. with a presentation at 6 p.m. A public comment period will follow the presentation. Comments will be limited to two minutes per person and speakers will need to sign up on the night of the hearing prior to the comment period.
The Project Team will consider all comments from the public and agencies. Refinements may be made to the Preferred Alternative as the team prepares the Tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). A combined FEIS and Record of Decision is expected from the Federal Highway Administration in early 2023. The Record of Decision signifies the end of the Tier 1 study.
No. The Tier 1 Preferred Alternative is a corridor which generally is 2,000 feet wide. Final alignments are anticipated to be 200 to 500 feet wide. These will not be determined until Tier 2 studies. A timetable for Tier 2 studies is still being determined, but each is expected to take two to three years to complete.
This is a large area and there have been multiple studies examining major north-south transportation enhancements, centering on the US 231 corridor. These studies have determined such projects have significant potential to improve north-south connectivity and regional economic development. Chapter 1 of the DEIS includes more detailed information about the Purpose and Need.
Meaningful public involvement is a key part of the environmental study process, and there are many ways for members of the public to stay informed and share their opinions. A set of public meetings is held at key project milestones and a set of public hearings will follow publication of the DEIS and include a formal comment period.
The Project Team meets with key stakeholder groups to share information and gather feedback throughout the NEPA process. These groups include elected officials, the project’s Regional Issues Involvement Teams and coordinating agencies. The Project Team is also available to meet with community groups and business organizations.
Project information is available on the project website (www.midstatescorridor.com) and shared on social media channels:
Comments can also be shared by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Project Team considered impacts, costs and performance of preliminary alternatives during the screening process. Impacts to both natural resources and the community were considered, including impacts to the natural environment, residences, businesses, managed lands and cultural resources.
Comparative preliminary construction costs were determined for each alternative. Costs take into account facility type and terrain. Performance of each Preliminary Alternative was evaluated against the core goals of the project including increased accessibility to major business markets, more efficient truck/freight travel to southern Indiana, reduced crashes in southern Indiana and increased access to major rail and air intermodal centers.
Additional information can be found in the DEIS and appendices.
Freeway options are no longer being considered because of higher costs. Expressway and Super-2 options are being considered for all routes along with considering upgrades to existing US 231. However, selection of a facility type will be deferred to Tier 2 environmental studies to offer more flexibility when specific alignments are selected. Tier 2 studies will also consider combinations of facility types on the selected route.
An expressway has at least two lanes in each direction and access at both interchanges and at-grade intersections. A Super-2 includes one travel lane in each direction and a passing/auxiliary lane or wider shoulders where appropriate. Existing US 231 upgrades may include Super-2 elements or other 2-lane improvements.
The Tier 1 FEIS and ROD are expected to be published in early 2023. These will be followed by more detailed Tier 2 environmental studies. The Tier 1 ROD will specify the sections for Tier 2 studies and more detailed analyses. There’s no timetable for the start of Tier 2 studies, but each is expected to take about two years to complete. Those studies will determine specific alignments and preferred alternatives within the selected Tier 1 corridor.
With impacts to public health and well-being, opportunities to interact with the public were limited. The pandemic also caused some uncertainty with possible impacts to transportation funding and potential impacts to the decision-making process. A more deliberate, slower approach to the study reflected the challenges of the pandemic.
Several adjustments were made during the study including removing freeway alternatives, interstate-type facilities, from consideration, deferring facility-type decisions to Tier 2 studies, considering combinations of alignments and facility types and considering upgrades to existing state facilities, like US 231.
Freeway options, interstate-type facilities, are no longer being considered because of higher costs. Expressway and Super-2 options are being considered for all routes. Selection of a facility type will be deferred to Tier 2 environmental studies to offer more flexibility when specific alignments are selected.
An expressway has at least two lanes in each direction and access at both interchanges and at-grade intersections. A Super-2 includes one travel lane in each direction and a passing/auxiliary lane or wider shoulders where appropriate. It can be used as one direction of a future expressway.
The start of construction will depend on several items, including the completion of the federally-required environmental studies and the availability of funding for the project. The Tier 1 FEIS and ROD are expected in early 2023. These will be followed by more detailed Tier 2 environmental studies. A timetable for Tier 2 studies is still being determined, but each is expected to take two to three years to complete. After Tier 2 studies, available funding will determine the start of pre-construction activities and the timing of construction.
Tier 2 environmental studies will define right of way. A timetable is still being determined for these studies, but each is expected to take two to three years to complete. Available funding will then determine next steps. Right-of-way acquisition must comply with the Federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Act. The Act ensures fair compensation and assistance for those whose property is acquired for public use. Click here for additional information from INDOT’s Real Estate Division.
Detailed information about right of way and right-of-way acquisition is still multiple years away. Right-of-way acquisition must comply with the Federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Act. The Act ensures fair compensation and assistance for those whose property is acquired for public use.
Decisions to make improvements to a property should not be affected by the Mid-States study. Right of way won’t be defined until after Tier 2 studies. If a property is acquired for right of way, its purchase price is based on a fair market appraisal during the acquisition process.
No. Alternative P does not pass through or impact land owned by the Hoosier National Forest.
About 50% of INDOT’s budget is spent preserving existing roads and facilities. The 20-year Next Level Roads plan fully funds INDOT’s asset management plan for existing state-maintained highways, funds projects to improve safety along the state highway system and projects that increase mobility. The Next Level Roads plan enhances Indiana’s economic competitiveness and job creation by improving road conditions, making highways safer, reducing congestion and increasing mobility.
No. Neither the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) nor the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has ever studied or designated an I-67 project in Indiana. Several years ago, private business interests funded a consultant study for a project they called “I-67.” The previous study is not connected to the Mid-States Corridor Project.
The $75 million in improvements planned for US 231 will address localized mobility and safety needs along the corridor. The planned improvements are included in the Tier 1 DEIS.