HENDERSON, Ky. (AP) — Officials say the new I-69 bridge over the Ohio River between Indiana and Kentucky will likely be operated as a toll bridge.
Officials are still working out the details of how tolling will operate on the estimated $1.5 billion bridge, the Courier & Press reports
Tolling will be essential to finance the project, said Mindy Peterson, the spokeswoman for the I-69 Ohio River Crossing project team.
"We don’t see a situation where there would be enough dollars at the federal and state levels without financing part of this project," she said.
The project team won’t be deciding toll rates. Instead that will be left to a bistate body, Peterson said. Kentucky and Indiana officials will decide the toll rate and policies such as giving frequent users discounts.
Toll bridges in Louisville have rates that vary from $2 to $12 depending on vehicle size. Drivers with a pre-paid account and transponders pay lower rates.
The project team is currently studying three proposed routes for taking I-69 over the Ohio River between Evansville, Indiana, and Henderson, Kentucky. Both states have extended their I-69 sections, but drivers must use the existing U.S. 41 bridges to cross the river.
The team is considering many factors, such as traffic, natural resources, cultural resources, historic properties and the impact on low-income and minority populations, Peterson said. The team is expected to come to decide on the preferred route this fall.
"If everything lines up and if there’s funding available when we reach the record of decision, construction could start as soon as 2021 or 2022 maybe." Peterson said. "And you are looking at a construction period of about three years."
The project is scheduled to open sometime around 2025.