Agencies cooperate on Nash Road funding

With the cooperation of several public and private entities, Nash Road is on its way to being extended west all the way to Highway 25.

Currently, Nash Road (officially it's Route AB), serves as the main access from Interstate 55 to the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport and a busy industrial area farther west.

Nash Road also goes east from I-55, serving businesses near the interstate and also providing the major road access to the Southeast Missouri Regional Port on the Mississippi River. Many Scott City, Mo., residents also used that portion of Nash Road to get to the interstate in order to avoid the congestion at the main Scott City interchange.

But to get to Highway 25 west of the industrial area along Nash Road, vehicles currently must negotiate bumpy and dusty unpaved county roads that follow a zigzag pattern.

A 3 1/2-mile extension of Nash Road would straighten the access to Highway 25 and provide a paved road surface. However, the Missouri Department of Transportation doesn't have the money to do the entire project.

MoDOT has budgeted $1.8 million for the project, which is scheduled to start in the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2005, and which is estimated to cost $2.5 million or more. The state funding would be for engineering, design and paving. Other financing is needed for purchasing right of way. County and road district crews would have to do grading and site preparation.

In addition to these public entities that have expressed an interest in the project, the Cape Girardeau Area Industrial Recruitment Association and the Greater Cape Girardeau Benevolent Association (which owns industrial property near the airport) are looking at ways to participate.

And the county hopes some of the proceeds from a planned economic development fund can be used as well.

The economic development fund would be created from $2.5 million in-lieu-of-tax payments from Kinder Morgan Power Co., provided it gets state approval to build a power plant in Cape Girardeau County.

The fund would be part of $13.5 million overall that Kinder Morgan proposes to pay to various taxing entities over the next 15 years while it pays off county bonds used to build the power plant.

It's a complex arrangement, but a good case has been made for extending Nash Road to Highway 25, including less congestion around the Nash Road interchange on I-55, which most trucks serving that area use daily.

There are still a lot of details to be worked out, but the cooperative efforts of everyone involved are a major step in the right direction.