Vital improvements, additions to road and bridge system
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 19, 2012) – Governor Steve Beshear last week told business and industry leaders from across Kentucky about the 2012-2018 Recommended Highway Plan he has sent to the General Assembly.
If enacted, the plan will provide a blueprint for vital, economy-boosting improvements and additions to Kentucky’s road and bridge system, Beshear said.
“Our 2012-2018 Recommended Highway Plan represents an aggressive investment in Kentucky’s primary road system,” Beshear told the annual conference of Kentuckians for Better Transportation.
“This plan is calculated to improve mobility through system expansion and necessary maintenance. The result will be less traffic congestion, increased safety, greater ease of interstate commerce and growth in Kentucky’s economy, which means jobs for Kentuckians,” Beshear said.
Among its many notable provisions, the Governor’s plan includes funding for Kentucky’s share of the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project, as well as funding to complete widening of the last four-lane section of Interstate 65 – a 43-mile stretch of congested highway between Bowling Green and Elizabethtown.
Other major provisions include funding to build new, four-lane bridges over Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake, and complete two Appalachian Development Highway corridors in eastern Kentucky.
The plan also dedicates more than $100 million a year to pavement repairs on primary roads across the commonwealth and more than $500 million to repair or replace more than 240 substandard bridges.
“Each project in this plan does at least one of three things: It solves a maintenance problem, addresses a known safety concern or deals with a significant traffic congestion problem. Many projects, such as the completed widening of I-65, do all three,” Beshear said.
Under Kentucky law, the governor sends a highway plan to the General Assembly every two years. It includes a blueprint for spending the Road Fund revenues that will be appropriated in the new biennium – 2012-2014 in this case – and planning for the four “out years” beyond the biennium. Road Fund revenues are from a combination of state and federal taxes on sales of motor fuels and motor vehicles, along with proceeds of bond sales. By law, Road Fund revenues must be spent for transportation-related purposes. The Highway Plan contains no General Fund revenues.
The Governor’s plan is online at http://transportation.ky.gov/program-Management/pages/2012-recommended-highway-plan.aspx. Notable provisions include:
Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project
The Governor’s plan funds the project in the next biennium with a combination of federal Interstate Maintenance (IM) and National Highway System (NH) funds and proceeds from previously authorized sales of GARVEE (Grant Anticipated Revenue Vehicle) bonds. IM and NH outlays each would be $25 million per year. GARVEE funds would provide $236 million, most of which would be spent in the coming biennium. In the four “out” years, FY 2015 through FY 2018, IM and NH outlays would continue at the same annual level, but toll revenue bonds would be sold to produce $846.2 million over the period.
Mountain Parkway – Widening from Campton to Salyersville
The Governor’s plan provides just under $80 million toward the long-awaited four-laning of the parkway through Wolfe, Morgan and Magoffin counties. That includes more than $8.5 million for design, $6.8 million for right of way acquisition and utility relocation and $64.5 million for construction.
Appalachian Development Highway Corridors
The Governor’s plan provides $269.3 million of federal Appalachian Development (APD) funding to complete construction of the U.S. 460 corridor in Pike County. The project involves relocating U.S. 460 from U.S. 23 to the Virginia line. In Letcher County, the Governor’s plan provides $152.8 million of APD funds toward completion of the “Valley Floor” section of the U.S. 119 corridor. The project area extends from Partridge to Oven Fork.
I-65 – Widening to six lanes
The Governor’s plan provides $491.4 million over six years to complete the widening of I-65 in Barren, Hart, LaRue and Hardin counties. When completed, the heavily traveled corridor will be six lanes wide from the Tennessee border to the Ohio River at Louisville.
Land Between the Lakes Bridges and U.S. 68 widening
The Governor’s plan follows through on a commitment to economic development in western Kentucky by providing $330 million of construction funds for new bridges over Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake – key elements in the completion of a four-lane corridor from Mayfield to Bowling Green. The plan also provides $75.9 million toward a related project – widening of U.S. 68 in Trigg County and four-laning of the existing Cadiz bypass.
Following through on the agreement that brought an I-69 designation to western Kentucky, the Governor’s plan allocates $146.6 million through 2018 for improvements in the corridor – mainly reconstruction of seven state parkway interchanges to bring them up to interstate highway standards. The interchanges are in Henderson, Webster, Hopkins, Marshall and Graves counties. In October, Gov. Beshear and Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez unveiled one of the distinctive red, white and blue shields creating 55 miles of I-69 from a 38-mile section of the Wendell H. Ford Western Kentucky Parkway and 17 miles of the present I-24. I-69 will eventually run from the Ohio River at Henderson to the Tennessee border at Fulton, tracing a portion of I-24 and sections of three state parkways – the Edward T. Breathitt Pennyrile Parkway, the Ford Western Kentucky and Julian Carroll Purchase Parkway.
Newtown Pike Extension – Lexington
The Recommended Highway Plan provides $41.5 million toward completion of the Newtown Pike Extension Project to Broadway in downtown Lexington. The project will result in a corridor from the University of Kentucky campus to I-64/75, north of Lexington, which will greatly reduce downtown traffic congestion while creating a visually appealing gateway to the city.
I-71 and I-75 – Northern Kentucky
The Recommended Highway Plan provides $72.6 million toward reconstruction of interchanges at KY 536 (Mount Zion Road) and KY 338 (Richwood Road) in Boone County. It also provides $24.7 million for added auxiliary lanes, both north- and southbound, on a 1.5-mile stretch of I-71/I-75 from Mount Zion Road to U.S. 42. The plan also allocates nearly $119 million through 2018, including $58.8 million through the biennium, toward the project to build a companion bridge to the Brent Spence Bridge, which currently carries I-71 and I-75 over the Ohio River between Covington and Cincinnati.
KY 15 – Perry County
The Governor’s plan provides $78.3 million toward widening 3½ miles of KY 15 to four lanes from Bonnyman to the Hazard Bypass.