KY BHA US Hwy 60 Connectivity Corridors Position Statement


The Kentucky Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (KYBHA) favors the replacement of the US 51 Bridge and opposes the construction of new bridges which would harm the natural wetland assets, disrupt wildlife habitat, and remove public hunting and fishing opportunities for Kentucky residents and visitors. 

KYBHA is the state Chapter of the national organization Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) which seeks to ensure North America's outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands, waters, and wildlife. As a nonpartisan group of sportsmen and sportswomen we stand up for public lands, waters and wildlife, and the outdoor opportunities they represent.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has proposed two conceptual travel corridors in its US 60 Connectivity Study creating a more direct route between US 60 in western Kentucky and I-57 in southern Illinois. The other option is the continuation of the ongoing US 51 Bridge replacement project that currently connects Ballard County, KY with Cairo, IL.

KYBHA opposes the US 60 Conceptual Corridor 1 and the US 60 Conceptual Corridor 2. The associated costs exceed $1 billion to build and disturb roughly 10 miles of existing intact natural habitat. The concepts would impact over 4,100 linear feet of streams, potentially destroy up to 91 acres of wetlands, and directly degrade more than 65 acres of public land in Boatwright Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

Although the US 60 Conceptual Corridors might decrease travel time, they come at an exponential cost to the public on multiple fronts. The proposed corridors would permanently alter or undermine the hydrology of key wetlands, public hunting and fishing opportunities, wildlife viewing, and remove access to existing publicly accessible land.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources states the economic benefits to the Commonwealth from hunting, fishing, and other wildlife-related recreation are vital forces for Kentucky’s economy, producing $5.9 billion in total economic impact and supporting about 70,000 jobs. However, hunting and fishing participation has continued to diminish citing access to land as the leading barrier to. Removing these natural resource assets would substantially degrade already existing access and economic opportunities for the area.

The Ballard County wetlands are in the midst of a major waterfowl flyway that remains the waterfowl epicenter of western Kentucky. Boatwright WMA provides one of the best opportunities for public lands waterfowl hunting in the state. The US 60 corridor project would have a dramatic negative impact not only on the public’s outdoor experience but also on generations of Kentuckians and visitors to come.

Furthermore, the wetlands in the path of excavation are essential filtering systems for our water. We are concerned the resulting degradation would lead to additional water quality issues for western Kentucky and one of our nation’s most iconic river systems. Only time would reveal to what degree the dramatic impacts an elevated roadway would cause to the hydrology of the floodplain.

For the reason stated above KYBHA favors the replacement of the US 51 Bridge as the most reasonable and best option for the travel corridor. It will have the least impact to Kentucky environmental resource assets, outdoor opportunity, and it keeps our outdoor cultural heritage and the ancillary economic benefits they afford us intact.

If you agree with the above statement and want to do more to protect your public lands, waters, and wild places, learn more about Backcountry Hunters & Anglers! BHA strives to protect and enhance access to our shared lands and preserve our outdoor heritage! To learn more about BHA, CLICK HERE! We also invite you to JOIN BHA NOW and get involved with the Kentucky BHA chapter to assist with our great conservation impact around the state! 

About Kentucky BHA

Our chapter is dedicated to serving the interests of conservation and access to clean public lands and waters. Through planning, collaboration, and dedication, we will make a difference.

See other posts related to Kentucky News