Commonwealth Journal

January 15, 2014

Proposals coming soon for Ky. 914 bypass widening

First time in Pulaski County that ‘design-build’ method used for a road construction project

by Bill Mardis
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —

Design-build proposals will be opened February 14 in Frankfort to expand to four lanes the eastern section of Ky. 914 from just west of the Rush Branch Road intersection east to Ky. 80.
Bruce Neely, chief district engineer for the Kentucky Department of Highways’ District 8, said technical design proposals will be accepted from design-build teams made up of contractors and engineers. Price proposals from contractors will be accepted separately, he said. A contract award would be based on weighed technical design and price proposals. 
Neely said this is the second time in District 8 and the first time in Pulaski County that the design-build method has been used in a road construction project. “It (design-build) fast tracks the normal process by allowing the project to be designed as it is built,” he said.
Four-laning the approximately 3 1/2 miles of Ky. 914 should be expedited by right-of-way purchased when the highway was built during the 1990s. The entire southeastern section of Ky. 914 is seven miles long, extending from U.S. 27 across from Beacon Hill Baptist Church southeasterly to Ky. 80 east of Somerset. The western half of the road was built to accommodate four lanes of traffic and the eastern half is only two lanes wide.
“We anticipate very little or no additional right of way will be needed, and utility relocation should be minimal,” said Neely. Estimates may have changed, but in the current six-year road plan are $500,000 for design and $600,000 for right-of-way and utilities relocation. Cost of actual construction, estimated in the current road plan, is $8.5 million. 
Unsubstantiated rumors made the rounds that a controversy between former city and former state officials over East Somerset Church Road culminated with a “nasty” letter written by a then-city official to the Transportation Cabinet. This allegedly resulted in a decision to drop two lanes off the eastern half of the southwestern bypass. However, neither city nor state officials at the time would neither confirm nor deny the fuss had anything to do with the width of the road.
Widening the section of road to four lanes will take about two construction seasons. If a contract award comes out of the design-build process, the current contract completion date for the Ky. 914 project is August 2015. However, Neely said it’s possible that some or all of the road-building firms could decide not to present proposals and the completion projection could change.