Mid-States Corridor Project
Not Another New Terrain Highway!
Hoosier National Forest (HNF) is facing yet another threat: the Mid-States Corridor Project, a proposed new highway in southern Indiana. IFA has already begun action to prevent this project, proposed by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), from fracturing the Hoosier National Forest with a north-south interstate barely 20 miles east of the just-completed I-69.
INDOT began by studying an upgrade of U.S. 231 in Huntingburg and Jasper to relieve congestion, but its plan has grown to a massive, new-terrain, four-lane expressway that will follow one of five potential corridors from I-64 north to hook up with I-69 south of Indianapolis.
Two of these proposed corridors would cut through the HNF. Route O would extend from Jasper to French Lick, then cross the lost River watershed tearing up a highly sensitive karst ecosystem that contains up to 1,000 sinkholes per square mile. This area, considered geologically unique globally, is home to several species of rare or endangered blind cave animals.
Further north, Route M would cut across from Loogootee to Bedford, possibly through Martin State Forest as well as HNF, clearing and digging out forested bluffs and filling in valleys. The highway would desecrate stunning views of Indiana’s hill country along the East Fork of the White River and repeatedly cross this river where the last population of lake sturgeon in the Ohio River basin survives.
IFA has provided extensive input via a 13-page letter to INDOT drafted by the Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) and the Midwest Environmental Law and Policy Center that calls for this highway project to be put on hold while the pandemic limits public input. The letter also questions the project’s purpose and need and opposes further consideration of Routes O and M.
IFA, HEC, and Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club have reached out to other groups and local businesses and more than 70 signed on to the letter. Our efforts have garnered national media attention. Furthermore, IFA staff have written or cosigned letters to other key political decision-makers, including Governor Holcomb and U.S.Senator Mike Braun. The latter responded to IFA in April that he is listening to public reactions and has not yet signed on to anew terrain highway for this project. INDOT plans to produce a draft environmental impact statement on this highway before the end of 2020.
Get involved! Take action!
Indiana’s forests need you! Be part of an active, engaged network of forest advocates from all over Indiana. What can you do? Join IFA! Volunteer! Or write to or call officials on behalf of Indiana’s forests.
Contact IFA’s outreach team for more information.