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Upgrades on I-69 corridor heading toward completion

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Upgrades on I-69 corridor heading toward completion

By David Zoeller
The Paducah Sun

Work on two major interchange upgrades to the Interstate 69 corridor in Marshall and Graves counties is heading toward completion this summer.

Both projects began in February 2016 and are scheduled for completion July 1, according to Keith Todd, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesman. The contractor on both projects is Jim Smith Contracting of Grand Rivers.

The Marshall County project involves the reconstruction of the Interstate-24/Purchase Parkway Exit 25 interchange near Calvert City to accommodate I-69 being routed southward on the Purchase Parkway in the future. The project is budgeted at $37.8 million and is about 88 percent complete, Todd said.

The revised interchange design maintains a direct connection between the Purchase Parkway and U.S. 62 at Calvert City.

"That was a traditional cloverleaf interchange," he said. "It is being reconfigured so that you will be able to make that transition without taking your foot off the accelerator ... it will be what is called a full-flow interchange. You can make the transition without having to slow down and take a ramp."

In Graves County, the project on the southwest edge of Mayfield includes the reconstruction of the U.S. 45-Bypass/Purchase Parkway interchange as well as reconstruction of the Ky. 80 interchange and improved connections with U.S. 45. The project is budgeted at $24.1 million. "We're doing pretty much the same thing to the Purchase Parkway Exit 21 and 22 interchange at Mayfield," Todd said.

"Once we get both of these interchanges done, we will have to make an application to the Federal Highway Administration to allow Interstate 69 to be extended southward to the Wingo exchange," he said. "Then I would hope within another year or two we can get the interchange at Wingo done, and with those improvements done, try to get I-69 pushed on down to the Tennessee state line."

Todd said he recognizes the interchange upgrades may take some getting used to, but he feels they will be good for the region, particularly in terms of economic development.

If someone from Marshall or Graves counties was trying to recruit a business from a foreign country to locate here, for example, mentioning the Purchase Parkway might not mean a whole lot.

"But if you say 'We're on Interstate 69' they don't have to ask what that is because they know what an interstate highway is," he said.

"I think it's going to be a big economic development tool for the region once we get that leg open. It's going to be a big advantage having I-69 all the way through the region."

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