With all the attention that has understandably been focused on the devastation that the proposed new-terrain I-69 highway will wreak upon thousands of acres of farm and forest land in its path, another, equally dramatic impact has been lost in the outrage.
According to INDOT's Draft Environmental Impact Statement, anywhere from 215 to 484 homes will be bulldozed to make room for a new terrain route. Another 17 to 75 businesses would be destroyed, as well as several churches.
"This highway has been touted as good for business, but now we are seeing how it will destroy businesses, as well as homes, along all the routes," said Tom Tokarski from Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads. "The INDOT study again ignores the fact that the farms that will be paved over are also businesses."
Bloomington businessman John Smith, who owns Bikesmiths and has opposed the highway from the beginning, is among those whose home could be lost to new terrain routes. He describes the impact this potential loss is having on his life and that of his wife, France Knable:
"We spent 3 years searching for our Greene County home with silence that water line installers once called 'weird.' Our land backs up to four square miles of forest with endangered Indiana bats clearing the air of mosquitoes for us each night. We can often see the Milky Way at night, though it is less brilliant with the ambient light admitted from Bloomington in recent years.
"Bernardin & Lochmueller employees have told us that we will not know until the highway is built weather our house will have an access or be another victim of eminent domain. I am sleeping no more than five hours per night now and at least two nights a week, I am lucky to get three. I awake with an anxious pounding heart every night. On good nights, I eventually get back to sleep.
"I worry about a heart attack, even though I have been a bicyclist for 30 years. I am hoping that this history will pull me through this stress and that I will learn how to live through this ordeal. We worry that my wife's world-class flower gardens, which cannot be moved or reproduced at our ages, will be given no value in the eminent domain process. It is obvious that highway supporters would not understand that silence and stars have a rarity cost when you are searching for such a home."
The new-terrain portion of this route would run from Washington to Crane to Ellettsville and on to I-70 in Morgan County. It would consume:
* 215 to 236 homes
* 17 to 18 businesses
* 1 to 2 churches
The EIS estimates the cost of acquiring land and relocating homes and businesses for this route to be between $91 million and $93 million.
The new-terrain portion of this route would run from Washington to Crane to Ellettsville to Ind. 37/39 in Martinsville and on to -I465 via 37. It would consume:
* 346 to 484 homes
* 42 to 66 businesses
* 6 to 8 churches
The EIS estimates the cost of acquiring land and relocating homes and businesses for this route to be between $192 million and $205 million.
The new-terrain portion of this route would run from Washington to Crane to Ind. 37 south of Bloomington and on to I-465 via 37. It would consume:
* 370 to 458 homes
* 51 to 75 businesses
* 4 to 6 churches
The EIS estimates the cost of acquiring land and relocating homes and businesses for this route to be between $220 million and $233 million.