LOOGOOTEE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — The Mid-States Corridor project gives options to reroute traffic near the city of Loogootee.

U.S. 231 currently runs through the heart of the city of Loogootee.

Phil Todd, a resident of Martin County, said many establishments would lose customers if the road ran anywhere other than through town.

“At one time, there was a study done, here at the junction of Highway 231 and Highway 50 where there was like 25,000 cars a day,” Todd said.

Residents believe that the traffic that comes through the town is what keeps businesses in business.

“That’s one of the big things, is with economic loss to a new highway,” Todd said. “Not an economic gain. Not for Martin County,” Todd added.

Loogootee Mayor, Noel Harty said he would prefer making improvements to the current road.

“You know, I think if we would just improve what we have from Haysville to Crane, what are we talking, 20 minutes?”

Some residents, like Todd, agree.

“But through town, just improve what we’ve got. Improve the curbs, turns, and so forth and make it more usable through town,” Todd said. “But not to completely bypass the town,” he added.

INDOT was asked to consider variations to minimize the potential for negative impacts on Loogootee’s local economy.

Public comment on the proposed variations signifies the end of the tier-one study. Those comments are due by March 31st in order to be included in the project record.

“There’s no pro to it,” said Mayor Noel Harty. “I mean, we’re trying to be positive and open-minded, yet be aware of the repercussions of such a road coming through our community,” he added.

“There’s nobody for the corridor in Martin County because there is no gain to us,” Todd said. “And the loss is you split farms up, you take people’s houses that have lived generations in the same house, and that house could get torn down,” he reflected.

The Mid-States Corridor project is still accepting comments on Refined Preferred Alternative P through March 31, 2023. The refinements include carrying forward four variations in the Loogootee area for more detailed analysis in the Tier 2 Studies. The changes were made in response to community feedback following the Draft Enviromental Impact Statement.

Preferred 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, with the four variations included around Loogootee. A combined FEIS and Record of Decision (ROD) is expected from the Federal Highway Administration in mid-2023. The record of Decision signifies the end of the Tier 1 study. A timetable for Tier 2 studies is still being determined, but each is expected to take two to three years to complete.

Nicole Minton, Lochmueller Group (Project Management Team) for Mid-States Corridor Project

Residents can visit Mid-States Corridor online to learn more about the preferred route as well as proposed variations. Project maps are also available as well as the option for leaving public comments.