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Connecting Quincy To The Country

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM)--The long awaited Chicago to Kansas City expressway will soon be finished with four lane roads connecting the two cities, and it passes right through the Tri-States.

The Illinois House and Senate have approved a joint resolution recognizing the corridor now to be called Route 110.

The final segment in Missouri, the 52 miles stretch of U.S. 36 between Hannibal and Macon, will be dedicated July 10th and officially opened to traffic by the end of the month.

Local transportation leaders are calling this a dream come true, and the area and region could soon see why.

For Thomas A. Oakley, the completion of this decades long highway project brings a personal fulfillment.

"There have been many great things that have happened as a result of transportation in this region and our ability to accomplish some things that maybe we didn't ever think we'd get accomplished," said Oakley.

If Rome wasn't built in a day, neither was the Chicago-Kansas City Expressway. Which is why seeing the completion of this project brings extra significance to Oakley who's dedicated much of his adult life to see it through.

"It is a thrill beyond....How many time we started and how many times we failed, and started again. Now we have it. It's amazing," added Oakley.

While transportation leaders are certainly giddy about the expressways completion, at face value it may seem like just another road project. Great River Economic Development Foundation's Jim Mentesti stresses this could be the key to economic growth this area has never experienced.

"What it's going to do is have people look at their GPS or they're going to Google the area and they are going to say should we be here or here, or should we be right smack dab in the middle of this whole thing," said Mentesti.

And right in the middle of it all is where Quincy will be.

"You're going to be able to go these 15 hundred miles and these 18 hundred miles and go right past us," added Mentesti.

Mentesti says the expressway will also save both truckers and regular travelers substantial time.

"I don't see one element on one component of our economic development features or factors that we deal with that aren't going to get a huge boost from what's about to happen," adds Mentesti.

And for a local transportation icon?

"A dream come true," said Oakley.

Road crews in Illinois and Missouri will begin posting Chicago-to-Kansas City expressway signs along the route beginning in the fall.

This finished project in Missouri will also complete the East-West I-72-US 36 corridor from Indiana to Kansas.

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