Commonwealth Journal

Local News

October 3, 2008

Road work to continue in Pulaski

Local News

Somerset — Despite the financial meltdown on Wall Street and an existing but unrelated moratorium on new highway projects in Kentucky, the record amount of roadwork in Pulaski County should continue unabated.

“I wouldn’t look for any stoppages,” Robin Jenkins, public information officer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, told the Commonwealth Journal this week. “I’m speaking in general terms, but for the most part, roads under contract should be OK,” she assured.

Jenkins pointed out that President Bush a couple of weeks ago signed an $8 billion Federal Highway Trust Fund bill. Money in the fund is raised indirectly via a federal fuel tax of 18.4 cents per gallon on gasoline, 24.4 cents per gallon on diesel fuel and related excise taxes. Signing the highway trust fund bill into law means federal participation in highway projects is funded through 2009, Jenkins said.

The problem at the state level is fewer gasoline tax dollars going into the highway fund, according to Jenkins. The state gasoline tax of 22.5 cents a gallon pays for road improvements in Kentucky.

“Even though gasoline prices are up, travel is down,” Jenkins explained. “That affects the highway fund (because less gasoline is bought and fewer taxes are paid),” she noted.

Neal Shoemaker, chief district engineer for the Transportation Cabinet’s District 8, recently assured the Commonwealth Journal that the $157 million worth of roads currently being built in Pulaski County will be completed without major changes in design. In other words, despite an indication in Gov. Steve Beshear’s Practical Solutions initiative that many highways designed as four lanes could end up with two-lanes, four-lane highways under construction in Pulaski County will be completed as four-lane roads, Shoemaker said.

This includes the final section of four-lane U.S. 27 from Ky. 452 (Bull Road) north to Ky. 70 at Eubank; the final two contract sections of the southwestern bypass from Oak Hill Road to Cumberland Parkway; four-lane Ky. 1247 from Ky. 914 (southeastern bypass) to Bend of the Lakes Road near Burnside; the partial cloverleaf intersection of Ky. 1247, U.S. 27 and Ky. 90 in northern Burnside; and 3.7 miles of Somerset’s northern bypass (I-66) from Cumberland Parkway to an interchange with new four-lane U.S. 27 south of Science Hill.

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