FLEMINGSBURG, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The Federal Highway Administration has approved the Transportation Cabinet’s proposal to replace a 14-mile section of the 80-year-old, sharply-curved KY 32 in Elliott and Rowan Counties.
Engineers will now move the $100 million-plus project into final design, and begin drafting straighter, wider travel lanes capable of carrying more traffic, more safely, according to a news release.
The decision comes after more than six years of study.
The KY 32 redesign project began in 2007 with a planning study that, two years later, proposed a new or improved roadway be developed within a mile-wide corridor between Elliottville in Rowan County and KY 32’s junction with KY 7 at Newfoundland in Elliott County.
By 2012, six design alternatives ranging from spot improvements along the existing route to new roadways north or south had been developed for consideration.
Public support, engineering analysis, cost and environmental factors narrowed the design choice to spot improvements, widening the road in place or a new 12-mile route mostly north of the existing route – known as Alternate 3 in public meetings.
From those possibilities, Alternate 3 became the preferred option because it best meets the project’s “purpose and need” by straightening and widening the entire route studied rather than just fixing parts of the roadway or just widening. It’s also among the easiest built and least costly of proposals, and impacts the fewest landowners.
The Transportation Cabinet’s next step in redesigning KY 32 will be to fine tune the new route’s path, plan utility and right of way acquisitions, and determine construction schedules.
The hearing will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Elliott County High School in Sandy Hook.
The hearing is one of the final steps in a plan to rebuild a narrow, winding section of KY 32 between Newfoundland and Elliottville.
The KY 32 reconstruction project began six years ago with a planning study that sought ways to improve the highway. Six design alternatives – ranging from spot improvements along the existing highway to new roadways to the north or south – have been under consideration.
In November 2012, the project team narrowed its design choice Alternative 3. That plan calls for a new 12-mile route north of existing KY 32 and features straighter, wider travel lanes capable of increasing traffic safety and improving travel times.
Alternative 3 is the plan being presented in the public hearing.