Editorials

Parkway gets perpetual construction, motorists get permanently peeved

When Frank Scott Parkway first opened 17 years ago, local motorists gained a transportation asset and an economic corridor that spanned from Millstadt to Shiloh. It was almost immediately overwhelmed.

So by dribs and drabs, they’ve been fixing it. It gets intersections widened, creating a drag race as folks try to pass on the right at stoplights. It finally gets its last leg out to Scott Air Force Base, but without the land to allow it to be widened past two lanes or to add bike lanes.

So it seems five minutes after they finished the latest round of intersections, here comes another piecemeal fix to widen the bottleneck between Illinois 159 and Old Collinsville Road. Five lanes and $1.78 million will go into the stretch that currently sees a traffic jam every Sunday morning when Christ Church services end.

Based on history, St. Clair County will spend the next 17 years adding patches to this concrete quilt. The most efficient path for taxpayers would be making Frank Scott Parkway four or five lanes, plus a bike lane, from Millstadt to Scott Air Force Base.

But that doesn’t happen because St. Clair County is building as it has the bucks, the equivalent of living paycheck to paycheck.

And why, dear county leaders, isn’t there money for the parkway? Is it because property taxes aren’t high enough?

Or is there a different “Fly MidAmerica” in the ointment?

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