Group discusses four-lane highway to Murphysboro - Republic-Times | News

Group discusses four-lane highway to Murphysboro

By on September 6, 2017 at 12:36 pm

Pictured, from left, representatives from Monroe, Perry and Randolph counties — Bob Elmore, Jim Epplin and Mark Kiehna — survey maps of the area that would be affected by a new four-lane highway from Waterloo to Murphysboro. (Alan Dooley photo)

Representatives of three of the four counties impacted by possible plans to expand a highway route from Waterloo to Murphysboro met last Tuesday in Waterloo. 

The proposed highway would connect to the Route 3 bypass in Waterloo, and proceed to Murphysboro, following a still-to-be-determined route past Red Bud and Sparta to Pinckneyville and Murphysboro.

“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Randolph County Commissioner Mark Kiehna, who is leading the group.

Thirty-three people attended the morning session ­— the first of many. It was held at the Monroe County Courthouse.

“These sessions are intended to be totally transparent,” Kiehna said. “There are no hidden agendas involved. We want inputs, ­ pro or con.”

The project that would extend regional four-lane connectivity through southern Illinois from St. Louis to Murphysboro has been kicked around for 30 years or more, Kiehna said.

He swiftly ticked off a list of groups that have weighed in supporting the idea since the four-county group was formed earlier this year. 

“All four counties are on board, with numerous communities, as well as the Kaskaskia Regional Port District, farm bureaus, numerous businesses and labor unions,” Kiehna said, adding Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith, host of this meeting, reported the city of Waterloo is climbing aboard as well.

The plan has received especially strong endorsement from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. The school notes in its letter of support that the region is home to its 8,000 employees, 12,000 students and an alumni body of more than 80,000 who visit frequently to attend events and programs…>>>

Read the rest of this story in the September 6 issue of the Republic-Times.

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Alan Dooley

Alan is a photojournalist -- he both shoots pictures and writes for the R-T. A 31-year Navy vet, he has lived worldwide, but with his wife Sherry, calls a rambling house south of Waterloo home. Alan counts astronomy as a hobby and is fascinated by just about everything scientific.