The Tier One study of the Mid-States Corridor is underway and the public will learn more about the potential route through the county in February.
Monday evening, German American Bank CEO and president Mark Schroeder, who serves as the president of the Mid-States Corridor Regional Development Authority (RDA), gave the Dubois County Council an update on Lochmueller Group’s progress on the study. Lochmueller is the Evansville-based group charged with conducting the Tier I studies to determine the route through the affected counties.
Schroeder told the council the public could expect a report narrowing the potential routes new highway through the county from about 40 down to three to five in a series of meetings.
“One or more going west, one or more of those going east, and one or more of those going up the center is my understanding,” Schroeder said regarding the routes that will be presented.
Those meetings are expected to occur Tuesday, February 18 at Loogootee High School; Wednesday, February 19 at Bedford Middle School and Thursday, February 20 at Jasper Middle School from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., with a presentation at 6 p.m.
The group has not done on-site surveys as of yet but once the route is narrowed down, those are expected to begin so they can make their final recommendation for the highway.
According to Bill Kaiser, attorney for the RDA, Lochmueller will explain how they narrowed down the routes at those meetings in February.
The group will then spend the summer determining a single route recommendation that should be made in October of this year. At that point, the public will have an idea of the potential location of the route, but the group will still be examining a swathe of land up to 2,000 feet wide to pinpoint the location to within a few hundred feet.
The final decision on the route is expected to occur in the summer of 2021 and then the Tier 2 studies will begin. Those studies are expected to narrow the route down to the actual construction site of the highway.
“We (RDA) can’t be an advocate for a specific route or road type, but the county can,” said Schroeder. “I would encourage the county and the cities. And really, all the local industries to be very proactive in letting Lockmueller know this is where we think the route should go and this is why we think it should go there.”
The group has also established a project office at the Vincennes University Jasper Campus in the administration building. The office is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. and the public is invited to stop in to ask questions, get information and make comments.
The Tier I study has been funded through a combination of pubic and private money to the tune of $7 million. The estimated cost of the study was set not to exceed $6.5 million with the balance going to other expenses in connection to the RDA’s efforts. The public portion has been split between the county ($1.75 million), Jasper ($1.4 million) and Huntingburg ($350,000) with the remaining coming from private donations from local companies.