Work continues on planning for an interstate corridor to connect Paducah to I-55 in Cape Girardeau with a public meeting later this month.
The I-66 corridor would span many southern Illinois counties including Massac, Pulaski and Union. The route could cut travel time from Paducah to Cape by nearly 45 minutes. Illinois Department of Transportation Engineer Carrie Nelson says an open house at Shawnee Community College on July 24 will address some of the proposed routes and environmental impacts of the freeway.
"This project could be part of the bigger picture of the I-66 corridor," she says. "But it also has some local, logical termini connecting two large metropolitan areas together."
The U.S. Department of Transportation approved more than $3.5 million to complete the study and planning phase of the corridor, which officials say will take up to four years to complete. The I-66 corridor is part of the East-West Transamerica corridor, originally proposed in the 1980’s. When finished, the EWTC will provide a high flow freeway running from Virginia to Kansas.