Region 8 Residents Support 4-Lane Expansion of Highway 67 - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Poplar Bluff -- Heather Flanigan reports

Region 8 Residents Support 4-Lane Expansion of Highway 67

June 9, 2004 -- Posted at 4:49 p.m. CDT

POPLAR BLUFF --  U.S. 67 is the connecting road from St. Louis to Little Rock, but for a major road, it's only two-lane in some places. A new survey in Poplar Bluff reveals that 87 % of residents would like to see the road expanded to four lanes. But how realistic is the expansion and if it happens, whose going to pay for it?

Phillip Rhodes supports the development of the road. "It would really help the community here in Poplar Bluff. It would make the highways a lot safer from Poplar Bluff to St. Louis. We have a lot of community members here that do drive from St. Louis to Poplar Bluff."

Scott Faughn is the chair of the Highway 67 transportation corporation. His mission: to expand all of Highway 67 to four lanes.

Motorist Barbara Rommel says, "It's too much traffic for just two lanes."

"We're years behind. It should be from state line to state line. It really should," said Eldon Wheelis.

Sounds like a big project, doesn't it?

"It's about a $125 million dollar project. That's construction. There's probably another $10 million dollars in design," said Faughn, "It's not cheep, but if it was easy, it would already be done, right?"

If the Highway 67 transportation corporation can raise 50% of the funds, the Missouri Highway Department will pick up the rest of the tab, and they'll also create a work schedule for the project to be completed. The project would be funded by a half cent sales tax.

"If we're willing to tax ourselves and put some money in and since this project was already promised to be done, we would hope that the state would met us half way, or maybe a little more, and try to help us finish this project," said Faughn.

The four lane stops about six miles north of Poplar bluff and doesn't pick back up until 46.3 miles later, in the town of Cherokee Pass.

Faughn's goals are clear. "We want to see the four lanes go from Little Rock to St. Louis. From there we would like to have a bypass around the towns and from that we would like to eliminate the crossings to some day have an interstate."

The survey had more than 250 people respond, with the majority residents of Butler County. It was not scientific.

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