Some new movement at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 4 office could mean more good news for the Glendale megasite.
After the passage of an economic development package in a special session of the General Assembly, some road projects that could support the area are getting a second look, according to Chris Jessie, spokesman for the cabinet.
An extension of Ring Road to connect with Interstate 65 on the south side of Elizabethtown is one such project being re-evaluated.
“I can say we have been asked to look at and evaluate a number of projects that have been on pause, and that is one that has been on pause,” he said. “To say that project has be ‘moved up’ would, I think, be a premature statement at this point.”
The project has been in a holding pattern since the cabinet acquired some of the needed rights of way in 2016 for the road to extend from its current end at the Western Kentucky Parkway to connect at I-65 just south of the weigh station near Elizabethtown, Jessie said.
“All those paused projects have been asked to be re-evaluated so we’re in that process right now,” he said.
Another project related to the Glendale megasite that is holding is a new interchange for I-65 near the site, which will include a restructuring of U.S. 31W through that area.
“Something that gets kind of buried in the whole Glendale conversation is that project affects all the way over to 31W,” he said. “That stretch of Dixie Highway will get rebuilt and reorganized a little bit to make it more motorist friendly.”
Jessie said the project only is waiting for the approved funding as rights of way have been secured and then it can be let out for contractors to bid.
“That project is ready for letting,” he said. “If we get a go-ahead and scheduled letting then it will be a matter of dusting it off and being sure nothing has changed. Rights of way have been purchased; utilities are out of the way. It’s ready to be built. It’s ready for construction.”
With the murmurs around the state about a $2 billion investment to the state by unnamed companies at the site, Jessie said being asked to re-evaluate the plans is not an indication the deal is done.
“To say those things could be tied together would be a stretch,” he said.
However, Jessie did say transportation officials are ready should the necessary funding become available.
“There’s an obvious on-guard, get-ready attitude, I guess, that we’re sensing,” he said. “That’s really what we feel, is just the, ‘Be sure things are ready.’ We don’t know how it’s going to happen or how it can happen.”
Part of how it happens may depend on the federal infrastructure bill currently making its way through Congress, Jessie said.
If some of those dollars are allocated for either project, Jessie said the cabinet is ready to move forward.
“There’s just a sense of awareness to move forward with things, if the funds become available,” he said.
Gina Clear can be reached at 270-505-1418 or email@example.com.