When I-69 opened last year Daviess County got its first link into the nation’s interstate system. Now, a proposal is being discussed that would add yet another interstate link to the county.
Business leaders in Owensboro, Kentucky and Dubois County have built a coalition to build what they call I-67. The road would link into I-69 near Washington, extend south through Jasper and Owensboro and eventually link up with I-65 at Bowling Green, Ky.
Coalition members are excited about the proposal and want to see it become a reality. “We’ve been working on this for a number of years,” said coalition member Hank Menke. “Right now it’s a long shot but we have to look at the big picture.”
That picture could turn into one of the less expensive interstate construction projects in history. The Bowling Green to Owensboro leg would involve upgrading the Natcher Parkway to interstate standards. The bridge over the Ohio was already built to those standards. Engineering on the improved US 231 to I-64 has already been completed and the road could be improved to an interstate. That leaves a 38 mile “green build” section from 64 to Washington. “This is really a cost effective project,” said Menke. “It takes a lot of assets that we already have and enhances them. It has picked up a lot of steam.”
The link into I-69 in Washington has led to the involvement of some Daviess County officials. “I believe it deserves a lot of study,” said Washington Mayor Joe Wellman, who is also a coalition member. “If it connects in here it would be a good thing for us.”
Private interests along the route have already had a $200,000 study done of the Washington to Bowling Green corridor. The Cambridge Systematics study concluded the road would draw a minimum of 16,000 vehicles a day, make for safer travel, provide an alternate route south so that I-65 traffic could avoid Louisville, and lead to more economic development.