Two years ago, planning to build an arterial road to connect Center Junction with a proposed I-55 interchange to the north would have sounded preposterous.
The East Main Street interchange between Jackson and Cape Girardeau was not much more than a gleam in the eyes of Jackson, Cape Girardeau, Cape Girardeau County and Southeast Missouri State University until last August, when federal legislators put $10.8 million for the project into a the federal highway bill.
The interchange suddenly was born.
Now a $3.9 million arterial road between the two interchanges is high on Cape Girardeau Mayor Jay Knudtson's list of capital improvement projects.
Jackson also plans to build an arterial road on its side of the interstate.
Jackson Mayor Paul Sander says businesses already have begun inquiring about locating near the interstate.
Construction of the interchange begin as early as October.
As Cape Girardeau looks to the future, it is updating its long-range capital-improvements plan.
Other ideas being discussed include a $5.3 million addition to police headquarters, a $14.4 million water plant addition and a $5.2 million water park.
The projects will be discussed at a public hearing March 21. This is a good opportunity for the city's residents to have a voice in the future of Cape Girardeau.