Focus Shifts to I-69 Local Route - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Focus Shifts to I-69 Local Route

Reporter: Kerri Richardson

Nine years ago, a federal study advised the construction of Interstate 69, but the idea has been in the pipeline for decades.

The debate over where to build the highway in southern Indiana is about over, with a decision expected by the end of the year. Now, the debate shifts to western Kentucky and the link between Henderson and Eddyville.

The planned route for Interstate 69 through western Kentucky slices through Jennifer Glunt's 60-acre farm. "No one wants to give up their homes and businesses and residences and so forth."

Glunt doesn't oppose the interstate, but she doesn't want much property disruption in Henderson. "Hopefully the route they choose isn't the one my family's property is on, and I hope no one has to lose anything that they value and treasure."

The planned path for I-69 through Kentucky uses existing roads, the Pennyrile and Western Kentucky Parkways. Easier because the road is already built, but harder because it's not interstate grade. Kevin McClearn with the Kentucky Department of Transportation says, "If we stay on the parkway you've got a design that was built 30 years ago. It's a parkway not an interstate, there are some differences."

For instance, the medians are only half as wide as interstate medians. The shoulders are small, and the driving lanes are narrow. McClearn says, "It can be a blessing if you can come up with a way to use the parkways without major renovations."

If the shoulders and median have to be expanded to meet with interstate specifications, construction won't stop with the parkway. Every bridge and overpass will have to be checked to make sure it can cover the wider interstate.

Jennifer Glunt may lose some of her farm if the parkway is expanded, but she concedes all her neighbors will benefit. "It's evident we need a new highway. But hopefully it won't be a dramatic impact on the residents of the community."

The public meeting on I-69 moves to Madisonville Tuesday. The session runs from 4-7pm at the mall. The Evansville to Henderson route will come up Thursday when the transportation road show returns to Henderson County High School.

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