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Interest in bypass an admirable effort

You probably didn’t notice yesterday, but the U.

Wednesday, April 07, 1999

You probably didn’t notice yesterday, but the U.S. Secretary of Education – the big cheese, so to speak, in traffic circles – flew over the Tri-State.

As part of a multi-state aerial tour of Appalachian road systems, Rodney Slater concentrated on rural transportation, specifically checking southern Ohio’s needs.

We’re glad he took a peek at our problems. We have heard many say, ‘Just come down here and see for yourself how badly we need the Chesapeake Bypass. See how much economic growth a new interstate would bring to the Ironton area.’

With Cabletron shutting down and layoffs imminent at Allied, a boost in infrastructure is greatly needed. And, in press releases, Mr. Slater agreed.

"President Clinton is committed to expanding economic opportunities in the Appalachian region and other rural communities in America, and transportation is a key element in that economic growth," he said.

U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland added that Slater’s tour and encouragement bode well for the Southeastern Ohio Highway Compact, which puts Chesapeake and three other area projects on the fast track to funding.

So, label the visit a success. Any interest in our longstanding problem is appreciated.

Yet, there is one minor concern.

If we may twist the old expression, you really never know an area until you’ve driven a mile in their cars.

A thorough driving expedition of U.S. 52, U.S. 23, U.S. 35 and all side roads is sorely needed.

A windshield view of bumper-to-bumper rush hour eastern Lawrence County traffic might do well in spurring even more economic help for the long-awaited bypass.