I-65 to I-71 Regional Connector Planning Study


The I-65/I-71 Regional Connector Planning Study is a high level study to determine project need, project goals, and project feasibility/cost of a corridor from I-65 in Bullitt County connecting to I-71 in Oldham or Henry County.  Funding for this study was included in the 2018 Highway Plan by the Kentucky legislature.


Early in 2019, the project team began collecting data on existing conditions for use in determining existing: traffic volumes, land use, traffic patterns, crash history, environmental issues, and other relevant data.  Five regional focus groups were formed with representation from elected officials, economic development, city and county planning, zoning, & engineering, parks, chambers of commerce, etc. for the counties of Bullitt, Nelson, Shelby, Spencer, Jefferson, Oldham and Henry. There is also a focus group for state and federal agencies. The first round of meetings with these groups was held in late January 2019 to review the data collected on existing conditions.  These groups provided input to help the team understand the land use and development in their counties. The group members gave input that helped develop the purpose and need statements. They also were given the opportunity to draw lines of potential alignments on a blank map of the study area.


The project team developed fifteen preliminary alignment alternatives (twelve new and three along existing routes) based on the existing conditions, environmental considerations and input from the first round of focus groups. The second round of focus group meetings were held in late May/early June 2019 where the project team presented these alternatives and gathered input. The handouts provided at those meetings can be found at the right under Supporting Documents. The alternatives were proposed before the Cabinet was aware of new land purchased by the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in late 2018. Among the proposals were routes that crossed through conservation land. In October 2019, the Cabinet announced the study would move forward with route proposals that do not have sections that cross through Bernheim property to avoid environmental concerns and because other viable route options were available. 


It is important to remember that these are wide, potential corridors, not specific roadway alignments. The corridors are shown at a width of 2500 feet. If a project were to move forward, a roadway alignment would be narrowed down to approximately 200-250 feet. At this point in the study, detailed potential impacts from each corridor are not known.


The project team will take the input from the second round of focus group meetings and screen the alternatives to determine which ones best meet the overall goals and objectives listed on the handout. The performance measures being used include mobility, land use and development, safety, environmental, and cost. The screening process will yield 3 to 5 corridor alternates, including “no build.” The team will study that selected range of alternatives in greater detail during summer 2019.


The final focus group meeting is expected to take place by the end of 2019. A final report will follow that contains a summary of study data, analyses and recommended alternative(s) that can be used by the legislature if they want to fund a highway project in the future.  If a project or projects advance forward from the study, there will be ample opportunity for public participation and comment.


If you have any further questions or comments, please contact our project engineer, Susan Oatman, via email at susan.oatman@ky.gov  .


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