A Christmas Gift For Martinsville: I-69 Opens Ahead of Holiday Travels

February 7, 2022

Almost a year ago, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) shut down the formerly known Indiana State Road 37 which ran right through Martinsville. Since then, major construction has taken place resulting in the opening of five new miles of Interstate 69 in Martinsville. 

On Monday, December 20, 2021, Governor Eric J. Holcomb visited Martinsville to join local officials in the ribbon cutting ceremony that took place in celebration of the I-69 northbound lanes opening. On Thursday, December 23, INDOT approved the southbound lanes to open ahead of holiday travels, marking the completion of I-69 construction in Martinsville. 

When I-69 construction came to Martinsville in 2019, it brought big changes with it. Not only did the construction affect the layout of the city, but it affected the daily lives of residents as well. When Indiana 37 was shut down, residents who used the road for everyday travel had to rethink their normal routines. Those who were trying to get to Bloomington often got on Indiana State Road 39 which connects Martinsville to Indiana State Road 67. This caused a lot of traffic back-up in both directions on Indiana 39 and Indiana 67. 

The traffic that the interstate construction created left residents of the Martinsville area disgruntled. Senior Emma Gonzales said, “The traffic going in and out of town could be really inconvenient. Getting to school could be challenging some mornings.” However, with the opening of I-69, the traffic has been lessened significantly. 

The lack of traffic is not the only new change that occurred in Martinsville though. Overpasses now cross I-69, connecting both sides of town, roundabouts are found in several locations, and sound barriers now encompass the interstate. Housing developments by South Elementary School have started construction as well in hopes that the addition of the interstate will bring more families into the area. 

The addition of the interstate has brought a lot of curiosity and hopefulness to many residents, as the talk of new businesses has been dispersed into the air. “I am curious to see how many new businesses open in Martinsville now that we are right off the interstate,” said Junior Ainsley Lowder. “I hope we will start to see new faces in the area, and be able to welcome those who are passing through.” 

Though I-69 construction is completed in Martinsville, Morgan County will not see the end of construction until late 2022. Finishing touches must be put on the interstate to make it more safe and functional. Railings and road signs will be implemented, asphalt paving will be applied, and drainage construction will take place throughout the year. 

In an attempt to keep Martinsville safe, it is encouraged that drivers be extra cautious on the road, as ongoing construction is still taking place, and fluctuating speed limits are found throughout town. As Martinsville reaches the end of construction, it is no secret that the town will see improvements and new beginnings in its future.

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