- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2014

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - Work is starting on the removals of trees along a 9-mile stretch of highway through Bloomington as part of the next phase for the Interstate 69 extension project through southern Indiana.

Workers set out orange warning barrels along part of Indiana 37 in Bloomington on Wednesday. The Indiana Department of Transportation awarded a $2 million contract in December for the tree removal, The Herald-Times reported (https://bit.ly/1a3v21Z ).

Agency spokesman Will Wingfield said about 30 acres of new right of way is being cleared through Bloomington, although he didn’t know how many trees would be cut down.

All tree removal must be completed by March 31 to comply with federal wildlife regulations protecting the endangered Indiana bat during roosting season.

Officials expect construction work to start later this year on upgrading a 21-mile section of Indiana 37 for the I-69 extension between Bloomington and Martinsville.

A 67-mile stretch of I-69 opened in 2012 from near Evansville at I-64 to near the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center southwest of Bloomington. Construction is underway on a 27-mile section between Bloomington and Crane that could open late this year.

Wingfield said that because trees are being removed, the state is buying land and preservation easements for 1,100 acres to mitigate the environmental impacts of the Bloomington-to-Martinsville section. He said more than 800 acres of forest will be preserved and 300 acres of new trees will be planted to increase future bat habitat.


Information from: The Herald Times, https://www.heraldtimesonline.com

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