By Allen Blair
Of The Daily Independent
About $13.5 million of improvements on Ky. 7 could begin this summer in
Elliott County if environmental studies don't lead to delays.
``Right now, we plan to let the project out for bids in June," said Jim
Rummage, chief district engineer with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
However, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state's Department of Fish
and Wildlife have environmental concerns that could delay bid-letting by a
month or two, Rummage said.
The Corps is requiring permits for easements along watershed properties,
while the state's concerned about a bat species in the area.
Work with the agencies is moving forward, and transportation officials have
``high hopes" to make the June bidding, Rummage said.
State Rep. Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, who has watched over the project from
his seat on the House's budget transportation committee in Frankfort, sees
few problems ahead.
``I have confidence they will work through the environmental concerns,"
Similar concerns occurred during the Laurel Gorge Bridge project, but the
work continued forward and is complete today, he said.
If bids are let in June, construction should be under way in 30 to 60 days,
The project will relocate some portions or Ky. 7 and restructure the
roadway - essentially widen and straighten the route, according to state
It will tie into the previous work at Laurel Gorge and move north to Ky.
Next year, a $14 million project is scheduled to begin that will restructure
Ky. 7 from Ky. 885 to the Carter County line. The construction year for that
phase is 2005. Set for construction year 2006 is a $3.5 million project for
redoing the road from the Laurel Gorge Bridge to Sandy Hook.
The projects are in the state's six-year road plan that the General Assembly
is working on now, Rummage said.
Adkins said the whole project is funded, but only technically.
``It's in the plan, with the dollar amounts there," he said. ``I hope as
long as I remain chair of transportation I can keep the funding in."
The entire six-year schedule will be welcome in Elliott County, said Sen.
Walter Blevins, D-West Liberty.
``We've locked things into the budget now, so it's better," Blevins said.
About $40 million had been available in the late 1980s, but that changed
with a change in governors, he said.
``This work now is really great news for the entire region, really," Blevins
Ky. 7, at Newfoundland, is also the location for a new state prison that
will employ hundreds of construction workers and about 400 full-time workers
when it's finished.
Such area economic development prompted a need for improved roads, and the
Ky. 7 work is a priority for more than just Elliott County, Blevins said.
``One of our dreams has been a road from Ashland and Grayson to London," he
said. ``This is a tremendous link.
``We need to have safe highways ... for everything we're building."
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>``One of our dreams has been a road from Ashland and Grayson to London," he
>said. ``This is a tremendous link.
This is what I was referring to a few weeks ago. The corridor will
follow KY 7 to West Liberty, US 460 and KY 205 to near Lee City, the
Mountain Parkway to either Pine Ridge or Slade, either KY 715 or KY 11
to Zachariah, KY 11 to Levi, and KY 30 to London.
Portions of KY 7 and KY 11 are done; all of KY 205, US 460 and the
Mountain Parkway are completed; and portions of KY 7 and KY 30 are
Much like the AA Highway has its own distinctive signs, I think the
entire route should be signed as the LA Highway.
"There's no doubt he's the best race driver in the world."
--Dale Jarrett, on Dale Earnhardt (RIP 2/18/01)
Waltrip, Kentucky, Anybody but North Carolina
To reply, you gotta do what NASCAR won't -- remove the restrictor plates!