FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 8, 2013) – Gov. Steve Beshear joined local officials on Thursday to dedicate the U.S. 68 Maysville Southern Loop in honor of Maysville native and former Miss America Heather French Henry.
“This multi-million-dollar investment is twofold: First, it opens the door for economic development and opportunity; and second, it provides an improved, safer route south of Maysville,” said Beshear. “It is an honor to dedicate this new highway to Heather French Henry, who achieved the national spotlight as Miss America 2000 and continues to serve as a tireless advocate for veteran issues.”
Formally opened in February, the new four-mile U.S. 68 Maysville Southern Loop connects traffic from the Clyde T. Barbour Parkway (U.S. 68/U.S. 62) across a new AA Highway (KY 9) interchange near Downing Drive to the existing U.S. 68 just south of Old Washington.
Construction on the project began in September 2010 when the Transportation Cabinet awarded a $32.3 million contract to Eaton Asphalt Paving Co. to build the new limited-access highway. The new U.S. 68 is expected to increase highway system capacity and safety in the Maysville area by rerouting traffic away from already-congested routes and intersections.
Before construction, motorists using U.S. 68 shared the same route and congested intersections as U.S. 62 and the AA Highway through Maysville. Now, through traffic can continue directly along the U.S. 68 corridor unimpeded while business traffic can easily access its former path into downtown Maysville.
In October 2000, then-Gov. Paul Patton, at the request of the Mason County Fiscal Court, named the loop for Heather French Henry after she was crowned the 2000 Miss America in September 1999 — the first Kentuckian to win the competition.
“I am humbled and wish to share this honor with the people of Maysville, my family, teachers, coaches, local civic and community leaders and members of my church,” said Henry. “I hope this reflects positively on the support and encouragement they have given to me over the years to continue to make a difference for our veterans and for the state of Kentucky.”
After winning the Miss America title, Henry established the Heather French Foundation for Veterans, which advocates for veteran issues including homelessness, housing and health care. She has also written numerous children’s books covering various educational topics.