FRANKFORT, Ky. – Gov. Andy Beshear on Wednesday announced plans to invest $23 million to improve highway safety near public schools, protecting students, educators and families.
Beshear charged the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet with prioritizing and targeting safety projects near school sites using state funding allocated in the 2020 Highway Plan. Nearly 70 safety improvement projects in 44 counties across the state are included in the award: to see the full list, click here.
“Once completed, these projects will ensure safe access to and around our schools, as well as improve quality of life for the thousands of Kentucky families that drop off and pick up children every day,” Beshear said.
Over the next two years, funding will be used to design and/or construct projects, ranging from new turn lanes and crosswalks to pavement markings and new entrances. Counties across the state will benefit from upgrades to existing school flashing lights, pedestrian crosswalk beacons and roadside signs encouraging distraction-free driving. The new projects are also expected to create contracting and design jobs.
In Western Kentucky, funding will be allocated this year to begin designs for new turn lanes at Pride Elementary in Hopkins County. The new turn lanes will significantly improve afternoon traffic flow in and out of the school. Pedestrian safety improvements will also include the replacement of sidewalks within the turn lane project area, upgrading sidewalk ramps to be ADA compliant and restriping the crosswalks.
“For years we have battled a traffic congestion problem in our area and we are excited about a solution,” said Pride Elementary Principal Kristy Saint.
“Our Falcons are the largest number of walkers of any elementary in our county, and we have three crossing guards. To receive this generous gift, we are so excited. So on behalf of Team Hopkins – Team Pride – we want to say thank you Team Kentucky,” said Hopkins County Schools Superintendent Dr. Deanna Ashby.
In Central Kentucky, Bardstown City Schools in Nelson County will receive more than half a million dollars to construct new sidewalks along Templin Avenue, safely connecting Bardstown Primary School with a new elementary school across the street scheduled to open next January.
“This new sidewalk addition is going to connect our new elementary school, it’s going to bring students and families closer to our school and provide them even better access,” said Bardstown City Schools Superintendent Dr. Ryan P. Clark.
In Southeastern Kentucky, a dedicated turn lane on the west entrance of Colony Elementary in London will be constructed to reduce morning and afternoon traffic congestion and improve safety for commuter traffic in the area.
One of the safety projects addresses a railroad underpass height restriction near the University of Louisville’s campus. The safety project will fund the installation of a height detection warning that flashes lights and a digital message to warn truck drivers if their vehicle won’t clear the underpass that has been the site of previous truck crashes.
This investment comes on the heels of Tuesday’s announcement that $5 million in discretionary funds will be allocated to repair and build roads in 32 counties and cities statewide.