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The economy may be in bad shape, but the road ahead may be a little smoother thanks to some road funding courtesy of President Obama’s stimulus package. Federal monies heading toward the commonwealth are paving the way for a new bypass project and the state is also preparing to do some resurfacing along KY-152 from the Marion County line to KY-150 in Springfield.
Patty Dunaway, District Four chief engineer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, announced to the Washington County Fiscal Court Friday morning that work will begin this summer on the Washington County portion of the Heartland Parkway along KY-555.
“As part of the federal stimulus package, the northwest Springfield bypass was able to qualify because it had federal environmental documents prepared on it,” said Dunaway. “We’re looking at May for a target date to let it for construction. Once it’s been let, it takes a month to a month and a half usually to get the contractor on board and get all the paperwork done. Construction should start in July and we anticipate this project to take about a year and a half, possibly towards the end of 2010.”
Cost estimates for the Washington County section were not available, but one early estimate puts the total cost of the project at $210 million, according to the Web site, www.heartlandparkway.com. One way the state is looking to cut the cost of the bypass is by narrowing the medians and the width of the paved shoulders. Dunaway stressed that whatever compromises are made, they will still meet all safety regulations.
“It will still be a 10-foot shoulder,” added Dunaway. “If anything changes, it might be the width of the paved section. We’ve been going back and forth on a project with six feet versus eight feet. But it’s big enough to have a vehicle pull off and have that safety factor. We’ve been asked to scale back as much as we can and the shoulders are one example.”
Another improvement the bypass will include is the addition of turn lanes and traffic control signals at the intersection of 555 and 150.
“We’ve definitely looked at the need for turn lanes there and signalization. I’m not sure if the signalization is part of the project or if our crews will add it after the fact,” Dunaway said. “We’re also adding rumble strips to warn motorists that intersections are coming up where there wasn’t one before.”
The state will also be resurfacing KY-152 from the Marion County line to KY-150. The budget for Washington County is set at $762,706. While routine maintenance in the county will cost about $359,800 and the county Judge-Executive expense paid by the state is $3,862, the projected cost of the KY-152 resurfacing is $660,597, pushing the total county budget to $1,024,259. That means the county project costs exceed the budget by $261,553.
Dunaway added, “As always, we’ve gone over our projected allotment. Our engineers felt like 152 was the one that needed to be recommended this year. Their recommendation will be sent to Frankfort, who will make the final decision. In saying that, they may come back and say we can only do part of the road. Times are lean and prices are up, so we’re going to spend as wisely as we can.”