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Planning continues on widening U.S. 27

August 26, 2003|PHIL PENDLETON

LANCASTER - Motorists anxious to see U.S. 27 widened to four lanes in Garrard County will be waiting several years before they see bulldozers clear land.

Kentucky highway officials are still waiting to hear from the Federal Highway Administration regarding an environmental assessment that will help decide which path the new road will take. "It's still in the design phase," said David Thacker, a public information officer with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

That design includes the widening of about five miles of U.S. 27 from Camp Nelson to Ky. 34 to four lanes. The widening of U.S. 27 from Ky. 34 to Stanford is in the planning stages, with a citizens advisory committee meeting to be scheduled for some time in late September, Thacker said. The northern section will likely be done before the Ky. 34 to Stanford widening starts, he said.

It's not known exactly which path the highway will take, especially where the new road will be placed in relation to Camp Dick Robinson Elementary School. There are two feasible alternate routes, referred to by the cabinet as "2B," which would place the road in front of the school, and "2C," which would put the new highway behind of or west of the school building, said Thacker.

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The Garrard County Board of Education prefers the highway be constructed behind the school. About a year ago, the board passed a resolution requesting that the road be placed behind the school. "We do no want buses to have to cross four lanes of traffic," said Superintendent Ray Woolsey. "It's a safety issue."

Once the environmental assessment is returned, a public hearing will be scheduled to review the alternate routes, said Thacker. He estimates that will be scheduled for late this year or early next year. As for when property will be purchased, easements sought, and then road work actually begins, those dates are very sketchy. "Right of way is scheduled for fiscal year 2004, with construction in 2006," he said.

Folks who frequently travel U.S. 27 in northern Garrard want to see the road work done sooner than later. Garrard County Judge-Executive E.J. Hasty said he frequently gets phone calls from people asking him when the road work will begin. "It's really needed," Hasty said of the new road. "I wish it would go faster, but it's a long process when federal highway money is involved."



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