Nash Road to Highway 25 still in the works

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Some civic and business leaders who have waited for years for Nash Road to be extended west to Highway 25 could easily have come to the conclusion that it would never happen. They are mistaken.

State and local authorities say the extension project it is still a priority and are working to make sure that the new road -- which would extend Nash Road 3.5 miles west to Highway 25 -- is finished by the scheduled completion date of 2006.

The Missouri Department of Transportation says the Nash Road extension is still part of its five-year plan. MoDOT is moving forward with a survey that is due in August that will propose a route and show which owners have right of way that needs to be purchased.

The survey also will pinpoint any environmental problems that have to be addressed.

The Cape Girardeau County Commission also says it still considers Nash Road to be a high priority. Meanwhile, area business and civic leaders are working to raise funds to pay for the local portion of the project, which is expected to cost at least $2.5 million.

There have been some stumbling blocks along the way. The most recent blow came last year when Kinder-Morgan Power Co. decided not to build a power plant in Cape Girardeau County. Part of the county revenue from the plant was to be earmarked for the Nash Road project.

But the project is too important not to happen.

Currently, Nash Road -- officially known as Route AB -- serves as the main access from Interstate 55 to the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport and a busy industrial area to the west, including BioKyowa's plant, which makes supplements for animal feed.

Nash Road also goes east from I-55, providing the main access to the Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority on the Mississippi River and the port authority's many river-related businesses. Motorists from Scott City also use that portion of Nash Road to get to the interstate.

To get to Highway 25, vehicles, including many large tractor-trailers, currently must go over bumpy unpaved roads with many curves and sharp turns. The extension would straighten the access to Highway 25 and provide a paved road surface.

Funding questions remain. MoDOT has budgeted $1.8 million, but the rest must come from other sources. Some of the businesses who would benefit from the project have committed some money. The county may have to kick in some dollars as well.

But more money is needed to pay for about 100 acres of right of way and to build a gravel road that the state would pave.

Good people are working to raise the money. The state is in the process of designing the extension. Soon, landowners will be approached about selling right of way.

With such a cooperative effort going into the project, there's no way it should culminate with a dead end.

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