WESTERN KENTUCKY (6/5/12) - Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) engineers are developing alternate alignments for reconstruction of U.S. 641 around Fredonia and to Eddyville.
Crews have completed most of their survey work along a wide swath between the two communities, apparently prompting speculation that the new highway will run through Fredonia, displacing a number of businesses.
“We have not selected a route,” said KYTC Chief District Engineer LeFevre said. “However, we are required by law to look at all options, to weigh them based on the information we’ve gathered, and develop alternatives that best provide for traffic flow while minimizing the impact on the community.”
Project engineers and designers will develop alternate alignments for the Fredonia-Eddyville section for review by area citizens in a public meeting. LeFevre said would likely be scheduled sometime in early 2013.
“This section has a number of challenges, including several historic cemeteries that will have to be avoided, and an environmentally sensitive underground water feature that somewhat restricts where the highway can go,” LeFevre said. “Surveyors have been checking property lines along a wide swath near Fredonia to aid in the development of alternate routes. Our goal is to construct a highway that improves safety for the public while being sensitive to the environment and the people who live along the proposed route.”
Construction has already started between Marion and Fredonia for “grade and drain” work along U.S. 641 in Crittenden County. The $18 million grade and drain along the 5.5-mile project is the first step in widening U.S. 641 from Marion to Eddyville.
The new four-lane is aimed at helping attract new investment and jobs, and providing an improved transportation route for existing industries and the public.
The present project area extends from just south of Marion to the northern edge of Fredonia near the Crittenden-Caldwell county line. The 5.5-mile section is expected to be ready for paving in late 2014 or early 2015.
Plans call for the new four-lane highway to cross the existing two-lane U.S. 641 between the Fredonia city limits and the Caldwell-Crittenden county line. The highway will route west of Fredonia, then roughly follow the existing highway to within a few miles of Eddyville. When completed, the new highway will provide an improved connection to Interstate 69 and I-24.
The estimated cost of the entire 16-mile project is about $109 million – $39 million for the Marion to Fredonia section and $70 million for the section from Fredonia to Eddyville.
Information provided by Keith Todd
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