- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Future road projects in Marion County, and throughout the rest of the state, are going to begin resembling a "Chevrolet" as opposed to the "Cadillac" variety that have been completed in the past, according to Patty Dunaway, chief district engineer for the Lincoln Trail District.
Dunaway, who spoke at the Marion County Economic Development Office's First Friday Forum Dec. 5, said every single state road project on the books has been reviewed, and modifications are being made to help the state save millions of dollars.
"We are going to be building the Chevrolet version rather than the Cadillac version," she said.
Minor changes have been proposed for upcoming road projects in Marion County, however none of those changes have been approved yet. Changes in local road projects will relate to the road shoulder width, she said. Instead of building a road with an eight to 10-foot shoulder (like the Lebanon bypass), the state will begin building roads with four to six-feet paved shoulders.
"A four to six foot paved shoulder is just as safe as an eight to 10 foot shoulder," Dunaway said. "And over the length of a project, it does add up. It's a major cost savings. We are talking about millions of dollars of savings by us looking at these projects and cutting back."
As of Nov. 30, the estimated shortfall for the state's general fund was $456 million, according to Dunaway, and a shortfall of $104 million was expected for the state's road fund.
And, while lower gas prices are good for drivers, those lower prices aren't necessarily good news for the state and its road fund, she said. When gas prices were up more money was going into the state's road fund. However, now that gas prices are back down the transportation cabinet stands to lose four cents for every gallon of gas that is sold. Each cent on the gallon translates to about $80 million, Dunaway said.
"We could lose up to $320 million in funding for our road fund," she said.
However, regardless of the state's current budget crisis, the transportation cabinet is still going to continue forging ahead so that when funds are available projects will be able to get started.
One of the upcoming road projects for Marion County, which could begin in the spring, is the connector to Industrial Drive and the Lebanon bypass.
"That has become a top priority," Dunaway said.
Dunaway said she anticipates that federal funding will be available for that project.
Additional road work that is on the state's "unscheduled project list" includes pieces of the Heartland Parkway, sections of KY 49, widening of Metts Drive and connecting the bypass to U.S. 68 and Corporate Drive.
There are a total of 12 unscheduled projects for Marion County and six to be added, Dunaway said.
"The total of those projects is $343 million for Marion County alone," she said.
Additional information on local road projects will be reported as soon as it becomes available.