Quicker route from Paducah to Cape being studied
PADUCAH, KY- Standing behind a computer at Plaza Tire in Lone Oak, Joe Sanderson hammers away at the keyboard.
"Which vehicle you driving today, Mike?" he asks the man on the other side of the counter before keying more information into the computer.
It is Friday and Sanderson is working the desk. But being the manager sometimes means hitting the road and heading to a sister store in Cape Girardeau when his store does not have what the customer needs.
"Sometimes you get behind agriculture equipment, sometimes it just takes forever," he says of the trip sometimes becoming a several hours long errand.
Sanderson says the trip is a frustrating combination of traffic jams, construction delays, and one-lane highways.
The Illinois Department of Transportation is looking to change that. I-DOT recently announced plans to study the best route for a four-lane highway to connect Paducah with Cape Girardeau. A spokeman says the plan comes on the heels of higher traffic demands.
According to google maps, I-24 to Illinois Route 164 takes about an hour and 48 minutes. Drivers taking US 60 West through Cairo and then through Illinois State Route 3 can expect to add 10 more minutes.
Taking US 60 West through Cairo then all the way to I-55 is more than two hours. Truck driver Mike Gatrost has tried them all.
"I ask the Lord to help me be patient. What more can you do?" he said.
Gatrost says the proposed plan to send drivers through 5 Southern Illinois counties would mean extra minutes.
He is paid by the mile, "It can't happen soon enough for me."
"I'd like to see it tomorrow," Joe Sanderson said.
I-DOT says the environmental impact study set to begin in January could take up to 3 years and then the construction of the four-lane depends on funding.
By Febraury, an I-DOT spokesman says an informational website will be set up. Later, he says, I-DOT will host a series of meetings to get public input.