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What is the study and why is it being conducted?

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s US 60 Connectivity Study (Item 1-80250) is a regional project to study an alternative route and potential new bridge crossing connecting Western Kentucky and Southern Illinois. This study is being conducted by KYTC to determine if a new corridor and river crossing would offer more long-term value to the Commonwealth and traveling public than the proposed US 51 Bridge Replacement (Item No. 1-1140) between Wickliffe, Ky., and Cairo, Il.

Where will this new corridor and river crossing be located?

KYTC and its project partners are studying potential routes to extend US 60 in far western Kentucky. The potential corridor for a new roadway and Ohio River crossing would run between Barlow, Ky., and near Future City, Il.

Why is KYTC considering two different Ohio River crossings in this area?

Bridge construction is both expensive and long-term as bridges remain in service for many decades. With the need to replace the existing US 51 bridge connecting Wickliffe and Cairo, KYTC is considering other options proposed by local officials and stakeholders to determine an optimal solution to address long-term, cross-river mobility needs to best serve the region.

Has this potential route been considered before?

A northern route between Barlow, Ky., and Mound City, Il., was considered as a potential alternative during the planning process for the US 51 Bridge Replacement project as a more direct connection to Interstate 57 in Illinois. A 2013 study dismissed the route early in the planning process because it did not meet a defined goal of that study to maintain travel time between Wickliffe, Ky., and Cairo, Il.

This study will not prioritize a direct connection between Wickliffe and Cairo. Instead, the US 60 Connectivity Study is gathering data based on broader, regional needs and assessing potential impacts to travel, the environment, economic development as well as estimated costs to complete.

Would this project replace the US 51 Bridge Replacement project?

This study will take a closer look at a possible alternative to the US 51 Bridge Replacement project. It will help KYTC determine if development of a new corridor is feasible and document how it would compare with the planned US 51 Bridge Replacement project. KYTC’s plan would be to advance either this project OR the US 51 Bridge Replacement project to construction.

Will this project slow down planning of the Cairo bridge replacement?

No. Currently, KYTC and its US 51 Bridge Replacement project team are planning for design and land acquisition that would be needed to construct a new US 51 bridge at Cairo. The US 60 Connectivity Study will run in parallel to planning and design for the US 51 Bridge Replacement project. Once completed, KYTC will determine which project should be advanced to final design and construction.

How long will this study take?

KYTC expects to complete the US 60 Connectivity Study by early 2024.

How can I participate in this process?

KYTC and its partners are currently engaging key stakeholders, including elected officials in Kentucky and Indiana, regional leaders, agencies and parties that would be most impacted by the potential project. A public meeting is anticipated for Fall 2023 to share information.

How is this study being funded?

This study is being funded by the state, through an appropriation in Kentucky’s 2022 Enacted Highway Plan. No future phases of this project are included or funded in the plan. Further funding would be necessary to advance an improvement concept to the design phase.