I-69 Development Conference Brings Attention to Highway Impact and Planning

Regional political and business leaders discuss ways to properly plan for the future I-69.
A super highway, I-69, will within a few years, connect Evansville to Indianapolis. And now western Kentucky leaders want a piece of the action. Business and political leaders are in Madisonville outlining how to ensure I-69's expansion is an economic boom to the region.

I-69 is being called the second chance at a first impression for western Kentucky. Many along the planned route say everything must be done right to give that right impression.

The road to success, like the construction of the Pennyrile Parkway, takes a lot of work.

"The success of this area is what our business is based on," says Lisa Moberly of Hudson Automotive in Madisonville. She says Interstate 69 is the road that will bring in more.

"More people, more jobs, more people that buy cars, more people that buy trucks, more people that need service," Moberly says.

But that road, like the Pennyrile itself, takes a lot of planning. That's why business and political leaders started that process at the I-69 Development Conference. They're planning for what they hope is more business, and more tourism.

"For small communities, getting additional signage with more traffic is going to lead to more people getting off and spending money in a local community," says Mike Mangeot of the Kentucky Dept. of Tourism.

But getting that requires towns and cities to look at everything.

"Those communities along the corridor are going to need to think about their zoning and maybe other things they haven't had to think about before," says Liz Irwin of Hoosier Voices for I-69. "So, I think will see more of that."

And it requires planning together so that one road benefits more than one city or town.

"We are part of a bigger world and that's why we need to work with other areas and other communities and make sure that we're prepared for the future," says Moberly.

Kentucky transportation officials say 55 miles of the path through Kentucky are interstate ready. They add more work must be done on the Pennyrile before it can be declared an interstate.
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