Will preserve direct interstate access to U.S. 62 at Calvert City
FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 25, 2015) — Gov. Steve Beshear today announced that engineers designing the corridor for I-69 can rebuild a key interchange for I-24 in Marshall County in a way that preserves direct interstate access to U.S. 62 at Calvert City.
The key to the project will be construction of a separate ramp—called a “flyover” ramp—to afford traffic an exit from I-69 North onto the Julian M. Carroll Purchase Parkway, which directly connects with U.S. 62 and KY 1523—Oak Park Boulevard—in Calvert City.
Reconstruction of the interchange is part of a larger project to upgrade the Purchase Parkway to become part of I-69. When the corridor is complete, I-69 will run north to south from the Ohio River at Henderson to the Tennessee line at Fulton. In addition to the Purchase Parkway, the corridor includes sections of I-24, the Wendell H. Ford Western Kentucky Parkway and the Edward T. Breathitt Pennyrile Parkway.
The I-24/Purchase Parkway interchange was among nine targeted for reconstruction, and a contract for the project is expected to be awarded this fall. Five other interchanges are completed or under construction.
The I-24/Purchase Parkway interchange lies at the western end of an 18-mile segment of interstate on which I-69 and I-24 run concurrently. This interchange is unique in that it involves a major fork where two interstates combine. Under the project design, the interstates will split immediately east of the interchange. Traffic continuing west on I-24 will bear to the right. Traffic going south on I-69 will peel off to the left.
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) rules for interstate highways require “route continuity”—meaning traffic staying on a particular interstate route within the confines of an interchange must be able to do so seamlessly, with no loss of speed.
However, there is no such requirement for traffic switching from one interstate route to another—in this case, from I-69 northbound to I-24 westbound. FHWA has approved retention of a cloverleaf ramp for this traffic movement.
Initial alternates for the interchange considered eliminating some or all of the cloverleaf ramps, and with them the existing connection to U.S. 62 at Calvert City. At a public meeting last summer with Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) engineers, residents requested that this vital connection be maintained. KYTC engineers were able to find a solution that met interstate design standards and that satisfied the needs of the local community.
The new design preserves three of the existing cloverleaf ramps. It eliminates a fourth ramp that currently serves as the Fulton exit for I-24 westbound traffic. The design also eliminates the ramp that currently serves as the Nashville exit for northbound parkway traffic merging into I-24 East/I-69 North. In place of that ramp will be the new mainline I-69 movements and the flyover ramp for Calvert City.
To date, 55 miles of the corridor are complete—from roughly Nortonville (Hopkins County) to the interchange of I-24 and the Purchase Parkway near Calvert City (Marshall County)—and bear the red, white and blue shields of I-69. The first shield was unveiled by Gov. Beshear and then-Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez in October 2011.
The remaining portion of the I-69 Corridor between Henderson and the Western Kentucky Parkway is scheduled to have signs in place by the end of 2015—getting nearly 100 miles under shield by the end of the year.