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.


11 thoughts on “Home

  1. halting the destruction and waste of our natural resources at home in the U.S. and throughout the world is long over due!
    This is progress?? We think not!!
    Bob & June Koch

  2. My dream of retirement to my Pope Co. farm was destroyed when I lost my vision and “wheels”. All the Interstate roads have done is speed transit thru the area and destroyed local businesses. Enough already!!

  3. Does anybody know what (if any) connections exist between planners of this potentially devastating road, and the oil and gas industry? Seems like it would be really convenient to the frackers!

  4. Southernmost IL is already criss-crossed with more interstate “corridors” than the surrounding states so this proposed road is totally unnecessary. The state should be focusing on fixing the state road infrastructure currently in bad need of repair and our bridges, several of which are in desperate shape, rather than dumping mega-bucks into this proposal. Regarding road conditions, I66 would not prevent road damage from heavy truck traffic because a goodly amount of our road truck traffic is from local trucking of coal to barges, rock to local projects, and similar trucking. This project seems very cost ineffective too. The feasibility study alone is costing 3.6 mill in fed tax dollars. With regard to the actual cost, a report from 2006 states that “The cost to construct one lane-mile of a typical 4-lane divided highway can range from $3.1 million to $9.1 million per lane-mile in rural areas depending on terrain type”. So by the time building on this road would start, the fed cost would be in the billions, IL residents would be responsible for 10% of the total cost in addition to our federal tax share. In addition to a 4-lane, it’s likely that a frontage road would parallel the 4-lanes because frontage roads are cheaper to build than exits/exchanges. So local folks that think a 4-lane will speed there way to Cape and Paducah would need to be situated next to an exit/exchange. Do they really want that in their front yard. And why would Illinoisans want to pay all that money just so travelers can get to Cape Girardeau or Paducah quicker? Traveler’s aren’t going to stop at rural exits in IL when they can drive on to those 2 bigger cities where they can get food, lodging, and cheeper gas all at one location. With regard to job making, it’s my understanding that since this would be a federal project, there’s no guarantee that the constructions jobs would go to companies in IL. With regard to new development, any new development is most likely to be at Cape & Paducah, absolutely no benefit of IL tax payers. Plus this road would also have the effect of cutting all those southernmost IL communities and farms in half. Local folks might save a few minutes getting to KY or MO (what I high cost to save little time) but it will take them longer to get to places closer to home on the other side of the interstate. When this coast to coast project was first suggested, back in 2001(?) it was to go straight from KY to MO. At that time IL government (Ryan) chose not to get IL involved. It appears the folks at Cape Girardeau didn’t want the road to bi-pass them to the south so they convinced governor Rod B. to jump on the boondoggle bandwagon. Since it was a fed project, IL could request to be included which Rod B. then did. But there is no real evidence that it will offer any economic benefit to Illinois.
    This is actually an interstate to no-where because several western states have opted out. Interstates just do not come thru with the benefits they are touted to bring. I57 did nothing for Cairo. It has taken nearly 50 years for development to pop up along I64 but that is only where large cities were already established, like Mt. Vernon and O’Fallon. If it weren’t for SIU, it’s reasonable to believe Marion’s I57 exit development would be 20-40 years behind where it is now.

  5. This is a dreadful plan. We already have the two highways running south through our beautiful forests. We don’t need another one going east and west as well. This would be a deadly blow to our natural areas that are the main draw in this part of the state. They would not recover from this plan — ever.

      1. Hey folks, Jim brings up a good point. Let’s try to keep partisan politics or other forms of generalization that might alienate people out of the discussions and comments. We may not all agree on everything, but where we can agree, we need to stick together. Thanks everyone for your cooperation!

  6. another important point is to say that since 1-24 and 1-57 was built south of marion we note there are no factories or big warehouse districts on those exits; looks like 1-66 is not to be a boon to prosperity.

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