$66.8 million project
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (July 6, 2017) — A ribbon cutting was held today to celebrate the opening of Phase I of the Interstate 65 to U.S. 31-W Connector Project in Warren County. The $66.8 million project provides residents and commuters another direct access point to I-65 and gives commercial vehicles a safer, more reliable route to serve the industries in the area.
Phase I of the project features a new interchange on I-65 with a new exit numbered 30. The connector road from I-65 to U.S. 68 is a four-lane section with a divided median with future expansion possible to six lanes. Phase II of the project, expected to open in 2018, will extend the connector road from U.S. 68 to U.S. 31-W and will be a two-lane section with the option to expand to four lanes.
In 2004, $5.25 million was allotted for the improvements to U.S. 31-W. In 2005, $2 million was allotted for improvements to U.S. 68 and $35 million was allotted for the construction of the interchange with connector Road. Qk4, Inc. of Louisville began the final design phase in 2011. The right-of-way and utility relocation phases began in 2012 and Scotty’s Contracting and Stone LLC began construction on the 2.5 mile project in 2014.
The project serves as the front door to the Kentucky Transpark, an industrial business area featuring regional, national and international outreach. As of April, the Transpark supports more than 2,600 jobs, which will have a $5.9 billion economic impact on South Central Kentucky over the next 10 years. Since 2011, 300 acres and 1.1 million square feet of industrial space have been developed within the Kentucky Transpark. It is home to two state-of-the-art vocational-based education facilities and eight of the region’s targeted industries.
The surge in the once rural area has provided residents and commuters with many options for employment and commerce. However, with large growth comes the challenge of managing traffic changes and increased traffic volumes. Since 1988, traffic volume on I-65 in northern Warren County has more than doubled to more than 50,000 vehicles per day, with many of those being commercial vehicles. U.S. 31-W handles about 22,000 vehicles per day in the urban area.
One of the main highways servicing the Transpark is U.S. 68, which carries about 4,900 vehicles per day, and KY 446, which is exit 28 on I-65, which carries approximately 17,500 vehicles per day. The opening of the new I-65 interchange with the connector road gives residents and commuters another access point to northern Warren County and gives commercial vehicles a safer, more reliable route to serve the industries in the area