LEITCHFIELD, Ky. — Gov. Matt Bevin joined Kentucky Transportation Cabinet State Highway Engineer Andy Barber, state and local elected officials, and business and community leaders Saturday to announce plans to begin the right of way phase of the western extension of the existing William Thomason Byway in Leitchfield in early 2020 — shaving at least six months from the original schedule.
The fast-tracked progress is the result of significant land and funding contributions from local public and private partners to build the new, nearly 1.5-mile alignment that stretches from KY 54 to KY 259, meeting at the end of the existing KY 3155 byway.
Bel Brands USA manufacturing facility hosted today’s celebration of the much-anticipated project that garnered $600,000 in local land and cash donations from the City of Leitchfield, the Grayson County Fiscal Court, the Wabuck Development Company, and Scotty’s Contracting.
“We are excited today to announce a significantly expedited timeframe for this important Grayson County transportation project,” said Gov. Bevin. “The long-anticipated William Thomason Byway extension will provide enhanced safety, access and economic opportunity for this region of the state. We are grateful for the strong spirit of cooperation among numerous public and private entities which has enabled us to accelerate our progress.”
Safety and mobility are at the heart of this project, which also enhances the potential for expanded economic development in Grayson County.
“Anytime we can address safety challenges, improve commutes, and support business in one project, it’s a win-win,” said Barber. “We’re proud of the strong buy-in across multiple levels to accelerate progress on delivering a faster route that safely moves people, goods, and services in this part of the state.”
By connecting U.S. 62 and KY 54 to KY 259 and the Western Kentucky Parkway, the extension will decrease the need for trucks and other large equipment to navigate tight turns and downtown’s Main Street roundabout. The project is also expected to reduce the number of crashes on U.S. 62 and KY 54 and enhance pedestrian safety by rerouting commercial vehicles around high-congestion areas.
“I am thrilled Governor Bevin continues to invest in the infrastructure of our rural communities,” said Sen. Stephen Meredith. “We are fortunate to have a Governor who understands expenditures of this magnitude will generate tremendous financial returns for our state as we lift up our communities economically. I am proud to work with him, along with our local leaders to build a better, stronger Kentucky.”
The bypass extension will offer access to approximately 330 acres of undeveloped land for future economic growth, while providing more efficient routes for local industrial facilities, Grayson County High School, and Lawler Elementary School. The project will also remove the at-grade railroad crossing on Quarry Road.
The right of way phase is estimated to cost $5.8 million, and construction work is expected to begin in calendar year 2022. Once complete, the two-lane byway will feature 12-foot driving lanes and eight-foot shoulders.