Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Proposed I-67 Would Roll South to Owensboro ; Link Washington, Ind. to I-65 at Bowling Green

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Proposed I-67 Would Roll South to Owensboro ; Link Washington, Ind. to I-65 at Bowling Green

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON, Ind. - When Interstate 69 opened last year, Daviess County, Ind., got its first link into the nation's interstate system. Now, a proposal is being discussed that would add another. Business leaders in Owensboro, Ky., and Dubois County, Ind., have formed a coalition to push for construction of what they are calling I-67. The road would link into I-69 near Washington, extend south through Jasper and Owensboro and eventually connect with I-65 at Bowling Green, Ky.

"We've been working on this for a number of years," coalition member Hank Menke said. "Right now it's a long shot, but we have to look at the big picture."

Coalition members tout it as potentially one of the less expensive interstate construction projects in history. The Bowling Green-to-Owensboro leg would involve upgrading Western Kentucky's Natcher Parkway to interstate standards. The U.S. 231 bridge over the Ohio River outside of Rockport was already built to those standards. Engineering on the improved U.S. 231 to I-64 link in Southern Indiana has already been completed and the road could be improved to an interstate standards. That leaves only a 38-mile "green build" section from Interstate 64 to Washington.

"This is really a cost-effective project," said Menke. "It takes a lot of assets that we already have and enhances them. It has picked up a lot of steam."

The link into I-69 in Washington has led to the involvement of some Daviess County, Ind., of-ficials. "I believe it deserves a lot of study," said Washington Mayor Joe Wellman, who is also a coalition member. "If it connects in here, it would be a good thing for us."

Private interests along the route have already had a $200,000 study done of the Washington-to-Bowling Green corridor. The Cambridge Systematics study concluded the road would draw a minimum of 16,000 vehicles a day, make for safer travel, provide an alternate route south so that I-65 traffic could avoid Louisville, and lead to more economic development.

"We think that study sent a serious message to the state," said Menke. "Historically, we've been isolated. What we lack is basic infrastructure, and this road would help solve that. …

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