Major Milestone Reached in Decades-Long Effort to Improve Traffic Flow, Upgrade 40 Miles of Major Regional Corridor
MADISONVILLE, Ky. – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration approved the redesignation of 39.9 miles of the “Edward T. Breathitt Pennyrile Parkway” as Interstate 69, and Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau and other federal, state and local officials were on hand for a ceremony dedicating the nation’s newest section of interstate earlier today.
“This latest addition to the national interstate system is the newest ladder of opportunity for residents of rural Kentucky and the thousands who depend on this region,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This project created jobs for highway workers and, in the years to come, it will continue to create jobs by strengthening the economy and helping freight move more easily to and from markets worldwide.”
Construction on the second segment of the new I-69 – from the Wendell H. Ford Western Kentucky Parkway interchange to the Kentucky 425 interchange nearly 40 miles north – began in early 2014. Workers reconstructed the I-69/Pennyrile Parkway/Western KY Parkway system interchange to provide a continuous through traffic movement for the mainline of I-69, upgraded guardrail and bridge rails, corrected vertical clearances and made numerous interchange ramp improvements to enhance safety for the thousands who use the route daily.
Though the cost of the overall I-69 Corridor project is estimated at more than $1 billion, this segment cost $110 million – nearly all of which came from federal funding.
“This route is a key segment of one of the nation’s most economically needed freight corridors,” said Administrator Nadeau. “Improving its ability to handle the predicted increase in traffic over the next 20 years will make a big difference to those living in and traveling through the region.”
According to Kentucky Transportation Cabinet figures, nearly 15,000 drivers use the route each day – a figure they expect will nearly triple to 41,000 drivers in the next 20 years.
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