Covers 70 miles
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 26, 2016) — A 70-mile section of the William H. Natcher Parkway from Bowling Green to Owensboro will be designated as the “Future Interstate 65 Spur,” Gov. Matt Bevin and U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie announced today.
The partnership between federal and state officials to upgrade the Natcher Parkway to an interstate spur was forged during a sign unveiling ceremony at the Owensboro Riverport this afternoon.
The designation of an interstate spur elevates the prominence of a highway into a federally-recognized corridor. In turn, businesses and other entities look to locate along a major federal thoroughfare. In addition, upgrading the parkway to interstate standards enhances the safety and mobility of the route.
On Aug. 2, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s (KYTC) plan to designate the Natcher Parkway as a future interstate spur. A future agreement between FHWA and KYTC will identify and outline the requirements needed to upgrade the parkway to interstate standards.
Work will include upgrading bridge rails and guardrails; improving exit and entrance ramps; constructing new and/or modifying existing interchanges; and raising some overpass bridges to increase vertical clearance.
In addition, FHWA approved the installation of eight “Future Interstate 65 Spur” signs located along the Daviess, Ohio, Butler and Warren county lines. Signs will also be installed at the interchanges of the Natcher Parkway and I-65 in Bowling Green as well as the Natcher Parkway and U.S. 60 in Owensboro.
A 2014 Palmer Engineering planning study prompted officials to include the spur into the current six-year highway plan. The study defines necessary parkway upgrades, offers recommendations on roadway improvement strategies and provides costs associated with the project.
The six-year highway plan includes $20 million of federal funding in the current biennium to upgrade the Natcher Parkway to interstate standards. The highway plan also includes a $13.81 million stand-alone project that will reconstruct the interchange at the Natcher Parkway/U.S. 231 intersection—once home to a parkway toll booth plaza.
A project timeline has not been established, but Cabinet officials anticipate developing a scope of work by the end of the year. At that point, KYTC will begin the process of scheduling projects for bid proposals.
KYTC’s goal is to have the spur improvements in place or under contract in the near future. The distinctive red, white and blue interstate spur shields will be installed once additional funding becomes available and upgrades are made to the route.