New KY 32 north of existing route is Transportation Cabinet’s ‘preliminary recommended alternative’
Next step is archaeology, environmental hearing
FLEMINGSBURG, Ky. (Feb. 4, 2013) – In the future, motorists traveling KY 32 from Elliottville to Newfoundland will drive a completely new 12-mile roadway instead of today’s narrow and winding route.
That’s the preliminary recommended alternative recently proposed by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet in its ongoing project to improve the important state highway connection between Rowan and Elliott counties.
If approved by federal authorities, that alternative – specifically Alternative 3 as presented in public meetings – would create a new route north of existing KY 32 with straighter, wider travel lanes capable of carrying more traffic and decreasing travel times.
Of six proposals considered in recent years, Alternative 3 costs the least, impacts the fewest residents living along the existing highway, provides opportunities to reduce environmental impacts and allows for enhancements such as scenic pull off areas – all factors cited by the public as important during the last five years of planning and design.
The Transportation Cabinet and engineering consultants are currently working to complete an environmental assessment of the proposed alternative.
Upon approval of the assessment by the Federal Highway Administration, a public hearing on the project will be held – likely this spring – after which the second phase of roadway design could begin. Archaeology is ongoing now.
The KY 32 redesign project began in 2007 with a $300,000 planning study that sought ways to improve the state route from Elliottville in Rowan County to its junction with KY 7 at Newfoundland in Elliott County.
Since then, engineers have been analyzing data and have held meetings with local officials, stakeholders and the general public. In November 2009, a summary of planning study findings was published that proposed a mile-wide corridor within which alternative alignments could be developed.
In 2011, the project entered the design phase when the Transportation Cabinet awarded URS Corporation a $2.1 million contract to engineer specific highway improvements within that corridor.
Work included engineering, historical and environmental analysis as well as more public meetings – at least six in the last two years – at which residents, roadway users, elected officials and stakeholders considered six design alternatives that ranged from spot improvements along the existing highway to new roadways to the north or south.
In November 2012, the project team narrowed its design choice – based on project needs and public input – to the preliminary recommended alternative that’s now being advanced.