Rotary 12 6MADISONVILLE, Ky. (12/6/17) — In a recent presentation to the Madisonville Rotary Club, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 2 Chief Engineer Wade Clements was optimistic that three major highway projects in Hopkins County would receive funding next year.

Highway projects have suffered under severe budget restraints across the state. A program called the “Pause 50” plan was designed to release more road funds.

The three projects were identified through a program called Strategic Highway Investment Formula for Tomorrow (SHIFT). Clements jokingly said that the word “Formula” was added after they looked at that acronym. Under the SHIFT program, various agencies and governments have input on highway needs and priorities.

Ranking high in the formula was the completion of widening U.S. 41-A (Nebo Road), from Arby’s to approximately Wicks Well Road, beyond GE. Also included is the proposed widening of North Main Street in Madisonville, from Hospital Drive north to Duncan’s intersection.

The third project receiving the most support is the proposed widening along Kentucky 281, Island Ford Road, toward Carriage Lane.

Clements said that all three projects would include sidewalks to provide pedestrian safety and encourage walking and cycling.

Clements said that adoption of the recommendations would be dependent on funds available and the priorities of the General Assembly and Gov. Matt Bevin. Currently, there are 1,400 projects across the state on the Six Year Plan; but, there is only funding for 140.

Clements reported the I-69 interchange at Mortons Gap has been completed after two years work. He also mentioned I-69 interchanges with I-24 and Mayfield are slated to be completed next year.

He added that would leave only a small section of I-69 to be completed in Kentucky, which crosses the Ohio River.

“We have studied that,” Clements said. “We must work within the guidelines of NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act), which is a three-year process for the $1.4 billion project.” We must weigh the types of bridges plus the social, environmental and economic impact with every alternative. We are in the middle of the process.”

The company working on the planning also worked on the new bridge at Louisville. Clements explained that the options have been narrowed to three corridors (from the original 5).

“A no-build alternative using the current bridges is not working out real well,” he said.

Clements said the new bridge on 1069 has been completed as well as Midtown Commons Road.

Also, the rest area at Beaver Dam should open in late January. The company that owns Huck’s was the winning bidder, and will operate the rest stop.

Clements is also hopeful for federal funding next year for repaving a portion of I-69 north of Madisonville, and the Pennyrile Parkway, from Nortonville to Hopkinsville.

For more information, visit https://transportation.ky.gov/SHIFT/Pages/default.aspx.

Ron Sanders
SurfKY News

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