Shawnee Parkway Project–a new name for an OLD proposal!
Citizens of southernmost Illinois have been fighting against the Illinois Department of Transportation’s proposal for a unneeded, unwanted high-speed, multi-lane highway through southernmost Illinois, which includes some our states most valuable and sensitive natural areas. (History of proposals.)
IDOT is calling the current version of this proposal the Shawnee Parkway Project. This time, rather than proposing an extension of Interstate 66 that would traverse the state from Paducah, Kentucky to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, IDOT is now proposing a highway that connects Rte 3 to Interstate 57. This is the tactic the Federal Highway Administration has used to build every segment of I-66. If the Shawnee Parkway were to be permitted and funded, it would only be a matter of time before the agencies return once again with plans to connect I-57 to I-24 in attempt to connect to I-66 in Kentucky.
The Citizens for Southernmost Illinois have serious concerns with the purpose, planning and development of the “Shawnee Parkway.” The negative impacts simply outweigh any questionable benefits for the people who live and recreate here. We can’t afford to gamble away our remaining economic and natural resources. CSI is dedicated to promoting and protecting our rural lifestyle and the rich natural environment that is part of our home and livelihood.
Potential Impacts from
the Proposed Interstate 66
Government Waste: $4.5 million dollars just to study a feasible route. $3.6 million per mile to construct an Interstate-type highway. This project started several years ago when Cape Girardeau, Missouri secured a grant (Illinois got to contribute the match, thank you very much!) through the Delta Regional Authority to study the feasibility of the 66 Corridor, a multi-state highway through Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri. This past summer (2015) IDOT cancelled the 66 Corridor project (no explanation given) and on November 25, 2015 officially announced the Shawnee Parkway.
Loss of Private Land: Acquired through eminent domain, thousands of acres of private land, including valuable agricultural and timber land can be taken out of production and removed from the tax rolls. This will not only impact family farms and private land but could result in restricted drainage and increase flooding.
Drain to Local Economy: Business and jobs continue to be lost in the area and the addition of another interstate will add to this exodus. Local businesses owners have indicated that the proposed interstate will detrimentally impact their operation by taking potential customers away from the area.
Loss of Tourism: The only purpose for this proposed highway is as a shortcut for trucks to leave from or to get to Cape Girardeau, Missouri. As such, the Shawnee Parkway will negatively impact tourism in southernmost Illinois. Noisy, polluting, 18-wheelers roaring through the Illinois Ozarks will deter, not attract, outdoor recreation such as hunting and wildlife viewing.
Incompatibility with Outdoor Recreation: The biologically rich and diverse environment of Southernmost Illinois has made it a destination with a reputation for high quality outdoor recreation experiences such as hunting, fishing, bird watching, canoeing, hiking, nature photography and much more. The environmental devastation resulting from yet another Interstate highway in this area will have dire consequences for the natural resource-based recreation and economy of the region.