A letter addressed to Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne from the Transportation Cabinet answers many questions concerning the bridge.
According to the letter, Mayor Ron Payne asked why I-69 could not use the existing Natcher Bridge over the Ohio River near Owensboro instead of building a new Ohio River bridge connecting Henderson and Evansville.
The State responded by saying that the I-69 route through Evansville and Henderson was chosen through evaluation of alternative routes and its effects on the environment. The plan took several years to complete and ended with the location being written into federal law.
Taking these factors into consideration, Kentucky and Indiana have focused on the planned I-69 route. As a result, the two states have made improvements to existing routes as well as build new sections of road to prepare for the route. The State added that it is too late to consider adjusting the route to go through Owensboro.
However, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has looked into the cost of converting the Audobon Parkway and Natcher Parkway to “Interstate Spur” routes, according to the letter.
It goes on to say that the Audubon Parkway could become an I-69 spur while the Natcher Parkway could become an I-65 spur. With these “spur” additions, Owensboro would be well-served with interstate accessibility.
The administration also brings up that the following routes are not interstate-compatible:
The existing Owensboro Bypass
The Owensboro Bypass Extension currently being completed
US-60 from Owensboro to the Natcher Bridge
The Natcher Bridge
US-231 in southern Indiana
Kentucky and Indiana would incur huge expenses by making these routes accommodate the width of I-69 and become interstate-compatible.
While it may take years to gather the funds to complete the planned I-69 route through Henderson and Evansville, the letter states the route will keep with the national vision of I-69.
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