interstate 69 300FRANKFORT, Ky. (7/23/14) — Gov. Steve Beshear today announced award of a contract for more of the improvements needed for bringing a portion of the Breathitt-Pennyrile Parkway up to interstate highway standards and eventual designation as Interstate 69.

The project involves reconstruction of the parkway's Kentucky 56 interchange near Sebree, in Webster County. Dumey Contracting was awarded the contract on a low bid of $10 million. The project has a completion date of Oct. 1, 2015.

"This is another important step toward completion of I69 in western Kentucky," Beshear said. "An additional interstate route means additional opportunity for economic development in western Kentucky and, indeed, throughout the Commonwealth. And the improvements being made in the I-69 corridor will result in safer, more efficient travel through the region."

The contract to Dumey was the second awarded this year for the I69 corridor. The first, to Hall Contracting of Kentucky Inc., was for improvement of a 36.4-mile stretch of the Breathitt-Pennyrile Parkway in Hopkins, Webster and Henderson counties. It has a completion date of August 2015.

Once complete, I69 in Kentucky will run north to south from the Ohio River at Henderson to the Tennessee border at Fulton. Completion of the corridor requires improvements to portions of three Kentucky parkways, all of which originally were toll roads - the Breathitt-Pennyrile, Ford-Western Kentucky and Carroll-Purchase parkways.

"I69 is the most important infrastructure project western Kentucky has seen in decades," said state Sen. Dorsey Ridley of Henderson. "It is an integral part of western Kentucky's future and these improvements will lead to economic benefits for our region and state. I am very pleased to see this project moving forward because of the positive impact that will ensue. Thanks to the leadership of Governor Steve Beshear, I-69 will be a reality before his term ends."

"I-69 is extremely important for our region, and this updated interchange will play a key role in that development," said state Rep. Jim Gooch of Providence. "Making it easier for drivers to merge with traffic will also increase the safety for those of us who use this interchange. I'm certainly pleased to see this project move ahead and want to thank Gov. Beshear and the Transportation Cabinet for making it possible."

To date, 55 miles of the corridor are complete - from roughly Nortonville to the interchange of I-24 and the Carroll-Purchase Parkway near Gilbertsville - and bear the red, white and blue shields of I-69. The first shield was unveiled by Beshear and then-Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez in October 2011.

A major challenge of the I69 corridor project has been the need to rebuild interchanges that were designed to accommodate drivers who were slowing and stopping at toll plazas - as opposed to merging with or exiting from 70 mph interstate traffic.

Reconstruction of the Kentucky 416 interchange in Henderson County is underway, as is reconstruction of the Pennyrile Parkway-Western Kentucky Parkway interchange, near Nortonville. With the awarding of a contract for a new interchange near Sebree, the only interchange remaining is the Kentucky 813 interchange with the Breathitt-Pennyrile near Mortons Gap.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet expects to put it out for bids in January 2015.

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