MAYFIELD, Ky -
A local community is excited about a possible boom in business. Interstate 69 has been in the works for more than 20 years, and now construction to extend it through Graves and Marshall counties starts this week.
I-69 will extend southward along the Julian-Carroll-Jackson Parkway near Mayfield, extending northward toward the I-24 interchange near Calvert City.
The changes are part of a nationwide project. The plan is to have I-69 run from Port Huron, Michigan, to Brownsville, Texas, near the Mexican border.
Roger Youngblood with Youngblood's RVs started his business off of the Purchase Parkway near Mayfield at age 23. He's seen a lot of changes, and hopes changing this parkway into I-69 will bring more business.
“I think it will definitely help. I don't think it will be overnight,” Youngblood said.
Becoming an interstate means a different type of traffic. This parkway wouldn't just lead to Calvert City and Fulton, but connect to major cities.
“It'll pick things up. All of our customers travel, so we get a lot of interstate traffic at our other location,” Youngblood said.
Being close to an interstate can also create new business. Graves County Economic Director Ryan Drane said they have a lot of areas ready to develop along the Parkway's exits.
“It's something that we've been working on for several years to prepare for. I think the interstate will bring more opportunity, but it doesn't guarantee you business. So, what we've done as a community, we worked really hard to prepare to make sure that we are ready to take advantage of those opportunities,” Drane said.
Drane said there is a lot of land to market off of these exits. Mayfield has four of them.
“It's a really big deal for us, because anytime, obviously, the government builds an interstate right through your town or your city it's going to drive more traffic to your area,” Drane said.
Drane said they've been contacted by several developers recently as the I-69 project progresses. Keith Todd with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said crews couldn't start work Monday as planned because of weather.
Weather permitting, they hope to start on the ramps near U.S. 45 sometime this week. The 30 mile stretch is an $8.08 million project the cabinet hopes to finish by October 15. Todd said we should see all signs change along the Purchase Parkway to I-69 by the end of this year.