Editor's note: The following comment letter from State Rep. Lanie Black, signed by five Missouri state representatives and one state senator, was submitted for the record May 13 at the Department of Transportation public workshop in Sikeston.
Scott Meyer, director
Department of Transportation
Dear Mr. Meyer:
We are writing to indicate our strong support for the connecting of Highway 60 across southern Missouri with the Commonwealth of Kentucky's highway system by the construction of a new bridge crossing the Mississippi River.
The proposed new crossing would connect an area south of Wickliffe, Ky., with Mississippi County in Missouri and would become part of a major new east-west I-66 corridor authorized by the National Highway System Act of 1995.
We believe the Commonwealth of Kentucky is and should remain responsible for establishing where her citizens desire to locate any new Mississippi River crossing.
We believe Kentucky's residents spoke loud and clear of their intentions when the Purchase Area Development District Board of Directors passed a resolution on Aug. 20, 2001, indicating their endorsement of I-66 Corridor south of Wickliffe, crossing the Mississippi River into Missouri.
In addition, in a letter dated May 3, 2002, MoDOT Chief Engineer Kevin Keith indicated, "If I-66 is built, it will be located on existing Route 60 through Missouri." His reasons were: (1) upgrades to four lanes already completed and (2) cost efficiency in bringing Route 60 up to interstate standards.
A new bridge south of Wickliffe would be in a direct line with Route 60.
Finally, in a letter dated July 3, 2001, Kirk Brown, secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation, indicated to Annette Coffee, director of planning for the Kentucky Department of Transportation that participation by IDOT in a feasibility study on I-66 "would be an imprudent use of IDOT resources" due to environmental concerns of locating new construction through the Shawnee National Forest.
We believe improving Route 60 to four lanes and connecting that highway to Kentucky's highway system by the construction of a new bridge from south of Wickliffe to Mississippi County will dramatically improve the economic development potential of the entire region along Highway 60, and we encourage both states to proceed as quickly as feasible with the planning and construction of the necessary highways and bridge.
Rep. Lanie Black, District 161
Rep. Peter Myers, District 160
Rep. Robert Mayer, District 159
Rep. Mark Richardson, District 154
Rep. Denny Merideth, District 162
Sen. Bill Foster, District 25