Interstate 169 designation a plus

Although the development of Interstate 69 through Kentucky runs well north of Hopkinsville — starting at Henderson on the Ohio River and continuing south, then southwest to Fulton at the Tennessee border — there is still room to include Christian County in the path of an interstate upgrade connected to I-69.

That possibility is included in an amendment Sen. Rand Paul has filed to a 2017 appropriations bill. It would designate the southern leg of the Pennyrile Parkway from the Western Kentucky Parkway to I-24 just south of Hopkinsville as Interstate 169.

If the amendment is adopted in the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill, it will eventually provide significant economic and infrastructure benefits to Hopkinsville.

An interstate designation would give Christian County a boost. Paul’s efforts could ensure that Hopkinsville is not bypassed by the economic opportunities that flow from an Interstate Highway System designation.

When the I-69 corridor is finished, it will run approximately 155 miles from Henderson to Fulton. It incorporates sections of the Pennyrile Parkway, the Western Kentucky Parkway, I-25 and the Purchase Parkway. The I-169 leg could be a crucial piece of the overall system.

Numerous upgrades on the parkways have been made to ensure the roads meet interstate standards. This has included new pavement, raised overpass bridges, additional lighting and ramp reconstruction. When the parkways were created, the ramps were tight cloverleaf designed to slow traffic feeding to toll booths. Also, many overpasses were too low for interstate designation.

As the development of I-69 has shown, patience is required to see these projects to completion. That will be true as well for the I-169 leg running through Christian County.

Paul’s work on this project is important for our community. The Chamber of Commerce, elected officials and local planners have long endorsed the benefits of an interstate designation for the Pennyrile Parkway passing through Hopkinsville.

It’s going to take some time to see this develop, but Paul’s amendment to the appropriations bill is another piece of the puzzle that gets the community closer to the goal.

Kentucky New Era

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