Involves reconstruction of KY 348 interchange in Marshall County
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 12, 2014) — Gov. Steve Beshear today announced the award of a contract for more improvements needed for bringing the Julian M. Carroll Purchase Parkway up to interstate highway standards and eventual designation as Interstate 69.
The project involves reconstruction of the interchange at KY 348, starting at mile point 42.1 to Exit 43 at Benton in Marshall County—a distance of about one mile. The existing cloverleaf interchange will be converted to a diamond interchange to accommodate traffic moving at modern highway speeds. Jim Smith Contracting Co. was awarded the contract on a low bid of $8.15 million. The project has a completion date of June 30, 2016.
“This is an important step toward our goal of completing the I-69 Corridor in western Kentucky,” Beshear said. “Projects such as these to create a modern transportation infrastructure are critical to moving Kentucky forward.”
The contract was the fourth awarded this year for the I-69 corridor, and the second in Marshall County — the other being for reconstruction of 30 miles of the Purchase Parkway.
The other two contracts were for work on the Breathitt-Pennyrile Parkway — improvement of a 36.4-mile stretch in Hopkins, Webster and Henderson counties and reconstruction of the parkway’s interchange with KY 56 near Sebree, in Webster County.
Once complete, I-69 in Kentucky will run north to south from the Ohio River at Henderson to the Tennessee border at Fulton. Completion of the corridor requires improvements to portions of three Kentucky parkways, all of which originally were toll roads — the Breathitt-Pennyrile, Ford-Western Kentucky and Carroll-Purchase parkways.
To date, 55 miles of the corridor are complete — from roughly Nortonville to the interchange of I-24 and the Carroll-Purchase Parkway near Gilbertsville — and bear the red, white and blue shields of I-69. The first shield was unveiled by Beshear and then-Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez in October 2011.
One of the main challenges of the entire I-69 project has been the need to rebuild interchanges that were designed to accommodate drivers who were slowing and stopping at toll plazas – as opposed to merging with or exiting from 70 mph interstate traffic. Reconstructionof the KY 416 interchange in Henderson County is complete, while reconstruction of the I-69 Pennyrile Parkway-Western Kentucky Parkway interchange and the KY 56 interchange near Sebree are underway.
The remaining portion of the I-69 Corridor is scheduled to have signs in place in the summer of 2015.