by Bill Mardis
The Kentucky Department of Highways is planning a new, 17-mile section of U.S. 127 that would extend from the Jamestown bypass in Russell County to existing U.S. 127 at Aaron Ridge Road in Clinton County, and eventually south to Ky. 90.
The new section of U.S. 127 would cross a planned new bridge over the Cumberland River about 3 1/2 miles downstream from Wolf Creek Dam. The new section of road would be about four miles shorter than existing U.S. 127, described by Highway Department engineers as “ ... crooked, winding ... a terrible road.”
When completed, new U.S. 127 would replace the highway that now goes atop Wolf Creek Dam. There are differences of opinion as to whether vibrations from traffic across the dam has had or would have an adverse effect on the mile-long structure that impounds Lake Cumberland.
Tom Clouse, branch manager for project development for the Transportation Cabinet’s District 8, says the purpose of the new section of U.S. 127 is to replace the existing, terribly crooked road. He said he “ ... doesn’t know ... and it’s not for us to say” whether the existing highway across the dam will remain after the new section of U.S. 127 is open to traffic.
Completion of the new section of U.S. 127 is a good piece down the road. The new bridge across the Cumberland River at Swan Pond Bottom near Creelsboro could be built in two to three years if the General Assembly next year appropriates construction money, Clouse said.
He hesitated at this point to give an estimated timetable or total cost. Estimates in the state’s six-year road plan put construction cost at $115 million. This did not include planning and environmental studies.
Some 12 miles of new U.S. 127 from Jamestown bypass to the Cumberland River is currently being designed, and right of way is being acquired.
U.S. 127, best known for the nationally famous 127 Yard Sale, is a 758-mile north–south highway in the eastern half of the United States. The southern terminus of the route is at U.S. 27 in Chattanooga, Tenn. The northern terminus is at I-75 near Grayling, Mich.
In Kentucky, U.S. 127 is cosigned with U.S. 42 through Cincinnati's Northern Kentucky suburbs until five miles west of Warsaw. Then it goes south through Owenton, Frankfort, Lawrenceburg, Harrodsburg and Danville; veers south-southwest through Russell Springs and Jamestown toward Lake Cumberland where it currently crosses Wolf Creek Dam to Clinton County and Albany before entering Tennessee.