County magistrates concerned about some local roads

-A A +A
By Jimmie Earls

Anyone who has driven around Springfield lately knows that road construction season is in high gear. At the Friday’s meeting of the Washington County Fiscal Court, members of District 4 of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet updated the county on some of the projects currently under way.

“For Washington County, the allotment for this year is $785,461, said Josh Hornbeck, branch manager for the construction and maintenance operations in Washington County. “Of those funds, we recommend $388,400 to be used for the routine maintenance and traffic operations on the rural secondary routes. The second priority is the county judge-executive’s expense at $3,862, and that leaves $395,000 for the resurfacing of KY-152 from the end of the new pavement to U.S. 150, a little over five miles.”

Once the project is let to contract, the target completion date for the KY-152 resurfacing will be Nov. 15.

Magistrate Morris Sweazy brought up concerns about the intersection of KY-555 and Lincoln Park Road. When a northbound driver is trying to make a left onto Lincoln Park Road, several drivers disobey the traffic laws and drive around the stopped vehicle in order to continue on. Although law enforcement officers are allowed to cite offenders, many drivers still go around and several accidents have resulted.

“There’s a whole lot of wrecks there,” said Sweazy. “If there could be a turning lane put there or a light. If there’s three or four cars lined up, then one will shoot around them. That’s where your wrecks come from. Of course there’s a sign there that says you can’t do that, but they do it anyway.”

“We changed the stripping and added the signs so the police can enforce that,” said Patty Dunaway, chief district engineer for District 4. “Senator (Jimmy) Higdon and I have been talking about that intersection. I shared with him the fact that it would take a project to fix that because of the guardrail. We would have to do something to widen the roadway and beef up the shoulders before we could add the turn lanes. It’s not just a matter of re-stripping it and it’s not something we can do in our current budget.”

“It’s funny that you mention that, Patty,” said Washington County Judge-Executive John Settles. “I was in Frankfort one day in Sen. Higdon’s office, and ironically, I got a phone call from Sen. Higdon. He was sitting out there at that intersection we are talking about. He said that of all the intersections he has to go through from Lebanon all the way to Frankfort, that is by far the worst. It always helps when you have one of your local legislators witness the situation almost on a daily basis.”

Magistrate Hal Goode asked about signage for a problem area in his district concerning KY-442/Deep Creek Road around the two-mile mark.

“It looks like the road has started to slide a bit on the state easement,” said Goode. “They’ve come in and tried to build it back up, but I have some concern that it’s dropping a bit. It’s a pretty highly traveled road. It seems like it’s stable, I’m just concerned that if there is a lot of rain, you can still drive over it, but it has a dip in it.”

Magistrate Billy Riney said that while some road signs have gone up in the area of Cowhole Curve, and that has led to some drivers slowing down heading into the curve, he would still like to see the state clear out about two feet of the inner shoulder to increase visibility.

“I’m wondering why we can’t cut into that bank so people can see around that curve,” Riney said. “I know you put the signs up, and that’s helped a lot on people slowing down, but why can’t the state take a front end loader in there and take some of that bank back?”

Hornbeck replied that some concerns with that would be bringing down the hill underneath and also said that job would be more than what a front end loader could handle. He would have workers check on the problem again. Riney also asked about crumbling concrete on the bridge on KY-152 near St. Rose Church.

Dunaway added, “Our bridge inspectors do inspections on state bridges every two years, based on the ranking, and they have to work their way through that system and the funding we have to do the bridge program.”

Chad Filiatreau, transportation engineering supervisor for Washington, Nelson and LaRue counties with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, gave an update on work with the US-150 bypass project.

“It is a working-day contract, and our anticipated completion should still be on schedule, hopefully around Dec. 1,” Filiatreau said. “At this point, most of the material has been moved. The section from KY-55/Bloomfield Road, going east toward KY-555, is getting really close to the final grade. Coming up next month, on KY-528 and KY-55, we have to move both of those approach roads, so in April crews will be working on getting that stuff put in and get traffic moved over. At that point, we have two structures, one on each road, that we have to complete the construction of that allows them to get that traffic moved so they can complete those structures. They’ll continue with the grade on back toward St. Catharine, getting that thing cut and getting the ditches in. As everyone is aware, those are concrete driving lanes on that road, so they’ll bring a concrete outfit in and start paving the main line. Everything has gone really well, no problems, and I feel like we should be on schedule.”

The contract for the bypass project is for 210 working days. The state charges working days from April 1 through Nov. 30, based on good weather where crews can be productive. Filiatreau said that the bypass crews have used about 51 working days. He said he doesn’t see crews having any problem finishing the project within the contracted time frame.


In other county news

• County solid waste coordinator George Ann Palmer said that the fuel surcharge refund on the most recent residential trash bills from Rumpke was the result of a breach of contract on Rumpke’s part. She also said that fuel prices are up again, and the next bill may include not only the first three-percent fuel surcharge, but a second three-percent surcharge could be added, as well.

• Bids were opened and reviewed for lighting at Burg Park in Fredericktown. Five bids were submitted, and after a motion by magistrate Terry Tingle and a second by magistrate Benjamin Settles, the court voted unanimously to award the project to A.M. Electric, who submitted the lowest bid of $2,750. The highest bid of $6,000 came from Lanham Electric.

The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled for April 5 at 9 a.m.