Parkway comment period extended

<p class="p1">The Illinois Department of Transportation, IDOT, continues to invite the public to review and comment on a draft purpose and need statement for the Shawnee Parkway Study. </p><p class="p1">The study is being conducted to evaluate the need for a new east/west transportation improvement from the intersection of Illinois Route 3/146 and Interstate 57 in Alexander, Pulaski and Union counties.</p><p class="p1">A purpose and need statement is required by the National Environmental Policy Act. It provides the basis to develop a range of reasonable alternatives and eventually select a preferred alternative.</p><p class="p1">IDOT reported in a Jan. 29 news release that based on comments received thus far, an origin and destination study will be conducted. </p><p class="p1">The results will be incorporated into an updated draft purpose and need statement which will be posted on the project website.</p><p class="p1">Comments will continue to be accepted and considered until the proposal is presented to federal and state resource agencies for approval.</p><p class="p1">The draft purpose and need statement is available for public review and comment on the project </p><p class="p1">Comments can be made via the website or can be mailed to Jeffrey Keirn at the following address.</p><p class="p1">Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Highways, Region 5, District 9, P.O. Box 100, Carbondale, Illinois 62903-0100.</p><p class="p1"><strong>Deadlines for Public Comment</strong></p><p class="p1">IDOT previously had issued a news release which indicated that a Jan. 30 deadline had been set for public comment regarding the draft purpose and need statement for the Shawnee Parkway Study.</p><p class="p1">The latest news release from IDOT did not include a new deadline for the public to submit comments.</p><p class="p1">The proposed project was discussed at the most recent meeting of the Union County Board of Commissioners.</p><p class="p1">County officials have indicated that they are in the process of reviewing the proposed project. </p><p class="p1">Union County Board of Commissioners chairman Richard Cunningham is serving on a community advisory group which was formed in conjunction with the study.</p><p class="p1">Union County Highway Department engineer and superintendent Kevin Grammer also is serving on the group.</p><p class="p1">A petition stating opposition to the proposed parkway is being circulated by a group called Citizens for Southernmost Illinois.</p><p class="p1">The petition declares the Shawnee Parkway "will destroy farmland, bypass local economies, alter vital levees, cut through the Shawnee National Forest and other special natural areas, and disrupt the quality of life and recreation for residents and visitors." </p><p class="p2"> </p><p class="p2"> </p><p class="p2"> </p>

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