Project Background. The I-69 Ohio River Crossing (ORX) project extends from I-69 (formerly I-164) in Indiana on the south side of Evansville across the Ohio River to I-69 (formerly Edward T. Breathitt Pennyrile Parkway) southeast of Henderson, KY. The section of Edward T. Breathitt Pennyrile Parkway between KY 351 and KY 425 was recently re-designated as US 41.
US 41 is a 4-lane National Highway System (NHS) facility classified as an urban principal arterial. It provides the only crossing of the Ohio River for the Evansville–Henderson area via two 2-lane bridges. Other nearby Ohio River crossings are 30 miles east and 70 miles west of the US 41 river crossing.
Existing Conditions. Full access to KY 351 (which provides a direct route into downtown Henderson) from US 41 is provided via a modified partial cloverleaf diamond interchange that would not meet FHWA approval on the Interstate Highway System. The interchange between KY 2084 and US 41 immediately to the south of KY 351 has existing safety and operational issues and only provides access from southbound US 41 to southbound KY 2084 and from northbound KY 2084 to northbound US 41. The ORX project necessitates the removal of the KY 2084 partial interchange and reconfiguration of the KY 351 interchange.
Alternative Design. AEI developed the Tight Diamond Triple Roundabout preferred interchange configuration. This interchange shifts the I-69 alignment west within the existing right-of-way and utilizes a compressed diamond ramp configuration. The ramp intersections at KY 351 utilize roundabouts and the existing KY 351/KY 2084 intersection will be converted to a roundabout, eliminating the loop ramp, and reducing right-of-way impacts.
3D and Virtual Reality Modeling. To aid in communicating the operations and impacts of the triple roundabout, AEI created a 3D model and rendering of the proposed concept utilizing Bentley’s OpenRoads and LumenRT. By creating the rendering, we were able to develop a virtual reality (VR) model of the proposed concept. The VR model and rendering allowed the AEI team to clearly communicate the operations and impacts of the proposed triple roundabout design in a manner the general public, stakeholders, and adjacent property owners could comprehend and understand. Our VR was instrumental in aiding the Henderson Planning Commission‘s confidence in achieving a City Gateway Affect via the design and substantially aided the School Board who had bussing concerns since each side of the I-69 interchange has a middle school (west side) and a high school (east side), both within 500 feet of the interchange.