Plans to connect Cape Girardeau to Paducah via interstate shelved for now
A long-planned federal highway across southern Illinois connecting Cape Girardeau, Missouri to Paducah, Kentucky is no more – for now.
Federal transportation officials quietly pulled the plug on the 66 Corridor project over the summer after Kentucky withdrew its support for what was once envisioned as a coast-to-coast interstate that would invoke the iconic cross-country Route 66.
The Illinois Department of Transportation and its federal counterpart instead unveiled a proposed Shawnee Parkway in late November that would skirt portions of the national forest with the same name.
Local and regional boosters cite its economic development potential. Project opponents call it a waste of money with potentially dire environmental consequences.
A $1.5 million combined federal and state grant has been set aside for initial engineering and environmental studies.