Can a rural highway connection promote tourism and economic development? Are those benefits enough to justify highway improvements? Those were the questions faced by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, which selected Bernarden Lochmueller & Associates, together with EDR Group, to examine the potential benefits of upgrading Kentucky State Route 69. The analysis by EDR Group examined the potential for economic benefits and new economic development through both improved connections for new business and reduced cost for existing business.
This state highway route connects the Ohio River (Hancock, KY near Tell City and Hawesville area) to the Green River Parkway (near Hartford, KY). The highway was seen as potentially providing economic development by connecting wood and furniture businesses, as well as automotive suppliers and automobile plants, and also providing a better connection to the birthplace of Bill Monroe (near Rosine, KY). EDR Group applied its highway economic opportunities model to identify the extent to which such business attraction was likely.
Another important part of the study was a loading dock diary and survey of area busineses to determine the extent to which their employees, their incoming supplies and their outgoing product deliveries would benefit from improving the highway connection. The results were used to provide a realistic picture of the limits of the highway impact, and the extent of likely economic benefits .
EDR Group also provided staff of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet with a day-long training session on issues to consider in assessing economic development implications of proposed highway projects.