Bypassing Vincennes

Vincennes. One of the original towns of Indiana, predating even the Indiana Territory. Its location had been on the beaten path of transportation since before the arrival of Europeans with the buffalo creating a path from the Falls of the Ohio at Louisville to what would become Vincennes. As Indiana came into being, Vincennes became the seat of justice for Knox County (the only county in the Illinois/Indiana/Michigan sections of the Northwest Territory for several years before the creation of Wayne County with its seat of justice at Detroit).

With its importance in the state of Indiana determined, Vincennes became a meeting place of roads, railroads and canals. Roads, for instance, connected to Evansville, Terre Haute, Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Cincinnati. With the creation of the Indiana State Highway Commission in 1919, Vincennes was served by state roads 5 and 10, with a connection available to SR 12. With the Great Renumbering, SR 5 became US 50, SR 10 became US 41 and SR 12 became SR 67. All three roads are upcoming posts in the “Road Trip 1926” series.

The ISHC has, throughout its history, attempted to make road transportation in the state as quick and safe as possible. Also, because routing a state road through a town makes the state responsible for that city street, the ISHC, and now INDOT, does its best to eliminate this confusing series of responsibility. If a town can be both connected to the state road system and bypassed at the same time, state officials are for this.

And hence, Vincennes would be bypassed, if possible. As it turned out, it was. It was already mentioned that Vincennes was at the junction of two major US routes (41 and 50). It started in 1960, when the states of Illinois and Indiana planned a new US 50 bridge over the Wabash north of Vincennes. “The announcement (of the new US 50 bridge) appeared to be an attempt to help soothe the feelings of Vincennes area residents who have been unhappy with highway planning.” (Indianapolis News, 17 February 1960) “Federal authorities are scheduled to approve a new Interstate 64 expressway route soon that will enter Indiana near New Harmony instead of Vincennes, as originally planned.”

By 1964, the US 50 bypass of Vincennes was completed. US 41 still connected through the town. It was soon after this that the US 41 bypass would be started. The ISHC construction program for 1965-1967 included plans for the US 41 bypass and reconstruction from US 50 south to Decker. The interchange at US 41 and US 50 was under construction be that time.

It would be the summer of 1969 when US 41’s replacement through Vincennes would be complete. Part of this had been planned to be completed by Thanksgiving, 1968, even though the contract, let in January 1968, had a completion date of Thanksgiving, 1969.

State Road 67 was cut back to connect to US 41 north of Vincennes in 1964. Prior to this, the two roads used separate paths to get into the city, connecting near downtown.

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