Bloomington: INDOT will miss Aug. 31 target for I-69 Section 5

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — The city of Bloomington says the state will miss its Aug. 31 target for substantially completing Section 5 of the Interstate 69 extension from Indianapolis to Evansville.

The city issued a news release Tuesday saying the Indiana Department of Transportation would miss the target, based on a report the agency presented last week to the Bloomington/Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization.

“I don’t know how they can say that substantial completion won’t go beyond Aug. 31,” Adam Wason, director of the city’s public works department, told The Herald-Times . “Every day of rain usually is two days of work lost.”

Wason said city officials understand the 21-mile Section 5 is a large project with many variables, but they are frustrated by missed deadlines.

“What we’ve wanted is realistic expectations shown to the community,” he said.

INDOT spokesman Andy Dietrick agreed that substantial completion likely won’t be reached until September based on weather forecasts, but it’s not certain.

INDOT defines substantial completion as having all interchanges and at least two lanes in each direction open to highway traffic and most access roads paved. That does not include other work on access roads, highway shoulders, guardrails and signage.

The state set the Aug. 31 target after taking control of the project from a private developer last year. Section 5 has been plagued by delays since work started in 2014. It was originally scheduled for an October 2016 completion.

Dietrick earlier this month warned buffer days built into the schedule had already been used up and significant rains could delay substantial completion. He explained that one day of significant rain usually equals two days of lost work because the soil has to dry out. .