OWENSBORO, Ky. (2/28/14) – Thanks, but no thanks.
That was the message from a Kentucky Transportation Cabinet during the Green River Area Development District transportation committee meeting.
A proposed change in route I-69 could run through Owensboro, rather than constructing a multi-billion dollar bridge that would connect the new interstate between Kentucky and Indiana in Henderson and Evansville, respectively.
KYTC spokesperson Keith Todd issued a news release regarding the GRADD transportation committee meeting, along with information compiled by Kyndle President Brad Schneider (Kyndle is the merged organization of the former Henderson/Henderson County Chamber of Commerce, and Northwest Kentucky Forward, a multi-county economic development agency).
According to the release, KYTC Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock made the following statement at Wednesday’s meeting:
“The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet does not plan to reroute Interstate 69 through Owensboro. Deviating from the congressionally designated Interstate 69 corridor would prove costly and be difficult to implement. The routes suggested through Owensboro are not compliant with federal interstate standards, nor is it the most direct and efficient route for motorists. We appreciate Mayor Payne’s input on the project, but the Cabinet will continue on the course that has been set.”
And Schneider outlined other reasons the idea to move the route east isn’t believed to be feasible.
In particular is the massive amounts of funding that have already been spent to upgrade the Commonwealth’s parkway system along the planned route, including the WK Parkway and the Pennyrile Parkway.
The upgrades were a requirement to meet federal interstate standards.
Most importantly, the release noted, the plan has been in place for almost 25 years. The route was adopted along with the concept of the interstate, and – Schneider noted – environmental documents that finalized the project were completed a decade ago.
The idea of moving the interstate east as a cost-savings measure that would have the added benefit of providing an interstate was first touted by Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne at the State of the City address in early February.
Since then, he has met with other elected officials about the idea without success.
At a city commissioner’s meeting last week, Payne said he wasn’t giving up on the idea, nor on the idea of Owensboro’s own I-67 route.
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