MOUNT VERNON, Ind (WEHT)– Posey County leaders and American Structurepoint workers unveiled plans for a major transportation improvement project. The Western Bypass will take traffic all the way around the heart of Mount Vernon, keeping semi truck traffic off the city’s roads. Expanding the William Keck Bypass has been in the works for eight years.
Construction for Posey County’s Western Bypass is expected to start sometime in 2023. American Structurepoint’s president, Rick Conner, said County Commissioner Carl Schmitz reached approached their company in 2013.
“You had a little bit of up and down with regard to the support from the governor’s office, you had the fertilizer plant that was kind of on again off again, but his determination is what has delivered this project– I believe. And that’s what’s so exciting,” said Conner, describing Schmitz’s tenacity.
Schmitz said giving semi truck drivers a route going around downtown Mount Vernon is his vision.
“There’s over 200 a day going past this building and for the safety of the people in town I think it would increase shops and stuff if we could get it down to just residential traffic,” Schmitz explained.
The first phase of the bypass will connect the existing William Keck Bypass to a Western Bypass which would run from highway 69 to Base Road.
“And we are also going to be reconstructing Base Road. There will be a great, new intersection at Lower New Harmony Road,” Wing Lau, American Structurepoint’s Western Bypass manager said the bypass will also intersect Givens and Base Roads. This way trucks have easier access to the industrial part of town.
Some people, who will live next to the proposed bypass by 2025, said more than truck drivers will use the addition.
“It’ll make a new road for her, my mom, going into town and going out to a friend of ours in Point Township. Makes a quick swoop through there,” said Jim Folz.
The project comes with a big price tag.
“Now we are going to be talking $40 million plus,” Schmitz said taxes from the expected Midwest Fertilizer plant will cover about half of the county’s bill. The plant has been in the works for at least eight years, but the company says construction should begin sometime in 2022.
Project leaders say the next step is to finalize the construction plans and buy portions of land they need from property owners.