A bi-state agreement between Indiana and Kentucky means the I-69 Ohio River Crossing (ORX) that will connect Evansville, Indiana and Henderson, Kentucky is a step closer to reality. The states have signed an initial Memorandum of Agreement to allow preliminary development and financial planning to move forward for ORX Section 2, the new river crossing.

“The Crossroads of America is more than a motto for Indiana. It’s a mission,” said Gov. Eric J. Holcomb. “That’s why it’s so important to see this generational project progressing forward. Our goal is to improve connectivity for all Hoosiers, and we know strong infrastructure puts us in an even stronger position for economic development and continued successes. Connecting our states will improve the region and make a difference for Hoosiers for decades to come.”

ORX Section 2 Initial Phase

This initial phase of the project will focus on preliminary engineering services, cost estimates, right-of-way plans, traffic and revenue forecasting, and other services to support a future Bi-State Development Agreement for ORX Section 2, a key next step for the project.

“Completing this important interstate connection has been a top priority for my administration,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “This agreement is a critical first step that will move us closer to construction. Bridging communities brings states together, and it opens the door to new economic opportunities. That’s why it’s so gratifying to see momentum on another Ohio River crossing in our state. Two transformational projects are moving forward with the Brent Spence companion bridge in northern Kentucky and now ORX in western Kentucky.”

The preliminary engineering services include pursuing grant opportunities and other financial planning to identify opportunities to accelerate the project timeline.

A request for proposal (RFP) for engineering services to support the initial phase of the project was posted March 14. Responses are due April 5 with a consultant expected to be selected by the end of April. Work is anticipated to begin this summer.

Both KYTC and INDOT will have representatives on the bi-state management team. KYTC will administer the contract and the states will evenly divide costs for the project. Those costs are expected to be around $3 million.

ORX: Delivering a Mega-Project

I-69 ORX is divided into three sections for project delivery. Construction on ORX Section 1, the Kentucky approach, started in summer 2022 and is expected to be complete by the end of 2025. It’s being led by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC).

ORX Section 2 is a bi-state project that includes the new river crossing. Construction is currently scheduled to begin in 2027 and be complete in 2031. Opportunities will be explored to accelerate the project.

ORX Section 3, the Indiana approach, is expected to let this fall with construction expected to begin in early 2024. Work is expected to be complete in 2026. It’s being led by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT).