Federal money will repave U.S. 127, replace county bridge

April 11, 2004|GARY MOYERS

Boyle County will receive $2 million for two road projects from a recently passed federal highway bill, but some confusion exists over what those two projects might be.

County Judge-Executive Tony Wilder sent a list of priority projects to Sixth District Representative Ben Chandler, and one of his main priorities was to repave U.S. 127 from Hustonville Road to the Mercer County line.

That project was approved by the House to the tune of $1.3 million.

But the other project approved in the bill, a new $770,000 bridge on Wolford Road, just off Ky. 37 over the North Rolling Fork River, was not on Wilder's list.

"The bridge I asked for was on U.S. 150 in Perryville," said Wilder. "The North Rolling Fork bridge was already on the state's six-year road plan, and we didn't ask for that one."


Jason Sauer, deputy press secretary for Chandler, said the U.S. 127 and Rolling Fork Bridge projects have already been approved by the House in HB 3550.

"The Senate passed its own highway bill, which differs from the House bill, and the two bills will have to be reconciled by conference committee," said Sauer, adding that both chambers are in recess and the matter won't be addressed until later this spring. "But the Rolling Fork Bridge is the one in the bill language, and it's the one that was passed."

Wilder said he believes the federal officials compared his submitted list to the state's six-year plan, and placed the Rolling Fork bridge in the bill because it was already on the state's plan.

"That's not the way we hoped the projects would be chosen," said Wilder. "We were told they'd pull high-priority projects not on the state list."

Wilder hopes to substitute another bridge

Wilder harbors hope he can substitute a bridge project.

"My preference would be to replace the bridge in Perryville, because of the traffic it receives," he said. "It was built over 50 years ago, it has only two lanes, and it's going to cause a major problem if it's not widened.That bridge has a huge impact on our entire county."

Wilder said he has been in contact with state transportation officials as well as Chandler's staff about a possible project switch.

"We sent in our projects based on needs not addressed by the state's existing plan, and we asked for input from the City of Danville," he said. "I am hoping because the final bill has not been written by the conference committee that we can substitute the location of the project and get Perryville on the list. That's been a goal of mine since I took office here."

The federal money would come in the form of a matching grant, in which local authorities would provide 20 percent of the total. Wilder said he's working to procure the matching portion of the money from state highway grants.

"We haven't been told for sure yet, but we feel there is a strong possibility we can get some help on our matching portion," he said.

No timetable for the two projects has been established, Wilder said, because the final versions of the bills have yet to be passed.

Central Kentucky News Articles