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Rural King

Kentucky's hopes for I-66 corridor

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Rural King    1

For years there has been a push within Kentucky and its congressional delegation to move the I-66 trans-continental interstate corridor into motion. For years little besides a stretch of parkway that may or may not be used for the I-66 corridor has been built. Then today out of the blue there was an article on I-66 in the Courier-Journal about proponents of the corridor trying to get it moving again, or at least within the State of Kentucky.

Interesting read. Contains plenty of proponent and opponent viewpoints on the corridor.

Courier-Journal Article:

http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.d...EWS01/602260454

So is this a good plan, a bad plan, or just a plan thats time has just not come yet?

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seicer    4

For years there has been a push within Kentucky and its congressional delegation to move the I-66 trans-continental interstate corridor into motion. For years little besides a stretch of parkway that may or may not be used for the I-66 corridor has been built. Then today out of the blue there was an article on I-66 in the Courier-Journal about proponents of the corridor trying to get it moving again, or at least within the State of Kentucky.

Interesting read. Contains plenty of proponent and opponent viewpoints on the corridor.

Courier-Journal Article:

http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.d...EWS01/602260454

So is this a good plan, a bad plan, or just a plan thats time has just not come yet?

I've been following this project for several years, when it was first proposed as a Trans-America corridor running from Virginia's end of I-66 to New Mexico.

The only interested parties now are Kentucky and Missouri. It's simply not feasable or realistic to construct, since most states want to build it for 'economic development' - not for safety or travel reasons. West Virginia dropped out long ago, for instance, because it would be far too expensive, and is instead, building two routes that are along what was the proposed I-66 route: The Coalfields Expressway (US 121) and Corridor H (US 48).

In Kentucky, the Somerset bypass is designed with parts under construction as a limited-access facility. This is needed because it will bypass a congested and slow route - but will not be signed as I-66. Pike County is also in advanced stages of design at the moment, but is NOT needed because US 119 is nearing completion near Canada and will provide a quick link to West Virginia. Add to that, that US 121 will be cutting close to all this, and with the future King Coal Highway (US 52) under construction in several areas, this will all tie together nicely without I-66.

I was for the project; now I am against it because it is certaintly not needed as we are spending a lot of money to build four-lane corridor highways where money could be better spent upgrading congested intersections to interchanges; restricting access to only major roadways; and improving efficency and reducing the LOS.

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Rural King    1

^ I have heard that Govenor Patton tried to lock in the future I-66 corridor in Eastern Kentucky by building several strecthes of limited access highways to try to insure its route would go through Pike and other East KY counties if the project ever got completed after his term. Does anyone know if that is true or very accurate?

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seicer    4

^ I have heard that Govenor Patton tried to lock in the future I-66 corridor in Eastern Kentucky by building several strecthes of limited access highways to try to insure its route would go through Pike and other East KY counties if the project ever got completed after his term. Does anyone know if that is true or very accurate?

That's pretty much what happened. I-66 is considered Patton's folly, because most of the design work, sans the Somerset bypass, has been done on the Pike county segment. Which BTW, is now not needed because of US 119's upgrade to four-lanes (which was planned long before I-66 which first came into being in the early 1990's). Patton and a lot of his pals hailed from Pike county, and this was one way of showing his support for them...

Money would be better spent in upgrading KY 80, which was realigned as a four-lane highway in the late-1980's and 1990's, and widening the Daniel Boone Parkway to four-lanes and modernizing it, and four-laning the two-lane KY 80 segment west of I-75.

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LA_TN    2073

^ Agreed, from what I know, this is 'correct'. The Somerset bypass, although w/ some controversy, is needed and is under construction. Pike County is beyond the areas I know, so I can't speak for the need (or lack of it). But from what I understand, it's a scratch my back and I'll scratch yours project.

As far as I-66 goes, the proposed stretch through Missouri connecting to Ky makes the most sense to me as far as need. That route would replace a hodgepoge of roads (mostly US 60) and would connect (roughly) Tulsa, OK; Springfield, MO, Bentonville/Fayetteville, AR through Popular Bluff and Sikeston, MO to Paducah/Louisville/Nashville/etc. Looks good on paper, would help out local and regional traffic while providing relief to a limited amount of intrastate traffic.

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ppassafi    0

^ Agreed, from what I know, this is 'correct'. The Somerset bypass, although w/ some controversy, is needed and is under construction. Pike County is beyond the areas I know, so I can't speak for the need (or lack of it). But from what I understand, it's a scratch my back and I'll scratch yours project.

As far as I-66 goes, the proposed stretch through Missouri connecting to Ky makes the most sense to me as far as need. That route would replace a hodgepoge of roads (mostly US 60) and would connect (roughly) Tulsa, OK; Springfield, MO, Bentonville/Fayetteville, AR through Popular Bluff and Sikeston, MO to Paducah/Louisville/Nashville/etc. Looks good on paper, would help out local and regional traffic while providing relief to a limited amount of intrastate traffic.

Blah, this whole thing is crazy. KY is famous for building roads to nowhere. Meanwhile there is REAL congestion as the states major metro literally has 4 lane through interstates (64 and 71) separated by a grassy median all the way into downtown! This is unheard of in any metro over 500k, much less over 1 million. This is not to mention the congestion you see on 265 as a result of its same 4 lane highway separated by a grassy median.

What KY hasnt learned yet (and others, like TN and NC have) is that you first must build up your major metros, and then as your state grows and adds jobs, you will have more money to spend in the states smaller towns. NC is the prime example. In 1950 it didnt have a city that could even think about touching Louisville. NC and KY in 1950 were two similar, tobacco producing states.

HOWEVER, NC chose to invest in its cities like Charlotte, they grew and created jobs, and then the whole state started booming, even small mountain towns. Meanwhile, KY let Louisville stagnate, sucking its funds dry and watched it sit and decay until the last few years. Louisville still does not have the infrastructure of a major city. Thus, nowhere in KY is growing like the rest of the south, all bc (and I really believe this) KY continually chooses an agrarian agenda that neglects its urban centers. Follow the model of TN and NC--build up your urban centers with investment, do NOT suck the tax dollars out of your urban centers with no return, create jobs and tourism there, and use that as a launching pad for the state's smaller cities.

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seicer    4

Blah, this whole thing is crazy. KY is famous for building roads to nowhere. Meanwhile there is REAL congestion as the states major metro literally has 4 lane through interstates (64 and 71) separated by a grassy median all the way into downtown! This is unheard of in any metro over 500k, much less over 1 million. This is not to mention the congestion you see on 265 as a result of its same 4 lane highway separated by a grassy median.

What KY hasnt learned yet (and others, like TN and NC have) is that you first must build up your major metros, and then as your state grows and adds jobs, you will have more money to spend in the states smaller towns. NC is the prime example. In 1950 it didnt have a city that could even think about touching Louisville. NC and KY in 1950 were two similar, tobacco producing states.

Kentucky does seemingly have a lot of "roads to nowhere" - especially in the eastern part of the state, but many in the southeast were built with coal servance funds which mandated that it be spent on transportation enhancement projects or road construction or economic development. KY 645 and the KY 3 upgrade near Inez is a prime example, as both seemingly go to nowhere (a town that is very small), and having driven this road many times, I can attest that there is very little to no traffic on it. During the strip mining boom of Inez a few years back, you had at least some coal truck traffic, but now that is even diminished to only a few mines. The KY 40 upgrade east of Inez to West Virginia (and to the King Coal Highway/US 52) is to extend east from KY 645 and is under final design. That part, however, is sorely needed.

The rural-to-urban road funding ratio is excellent in Kentucky, IMO, and more ideal than many states. Louisville doesn't suffer as much congestion as other cities, such as Cincinnati, due to its excellent artery system of four-lane roads. For instance, Interstate 64 west of Interstate 264 to downtown doesn't congest as often - widening would be out of the option as well, since it cuts through Cherokee Park and has twin tunnels. Boring an additional tunnel would be out of the option.

Three major projects in Louisville include the new East End (I-265) bridge, the Spaghetti Junction/twin I-65 bridge, and the I-65 reconstruction will zap what urban funds are available since all three projects will cost a combined total of $2.5 billion. Funding is not being cut on any projects, but there just isn't enough, especially with costs for one project in the $1 billion range.

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ppassafi    0

Kentucky does seemingly have a lot of "roads to nowhere" - especially in the eastern part of the state, but many in the southeast were built with coal servance funds which mandated that it be spent on transportation enhancement projects or road construction or economic development. KY 645 and the KY 3 upgrade near Inez is a prime example, as both seemingly go to nowhere (a town that is very small), and having driven this road many times, I can attest that there is very little to no traffic on it. During the strip mining boom of Inez a few years back, you had at least some coal truck traffic, but now that is even diminished to only a few mines. The KY 40 upgrade east of Inez to West Virginia (and to the King Coal Highway/US 52) is to extend east from KY 645 and is under final design. That part, however, is sorely needed.

The rural-to-urban road funding ratio is excellent in Kentucky, IMO, and more ideal than many states. Louisville doesn't suffer as much congestion as other cities, such as Cincinnati, due to its excellent artery system of four-lane roads. For instance, Interstate 64 west of Interstate 264 to downtown doesn't congest as often - widening would be out of the option as well, since it cuts through Cherokee Park and has twin tunnels. Boring an additional tunnel would be out of the option.

Three major projects in Louisville include the new East End (I-265) bridge, the Spaghetti Junction/twin I-65 bridge, and the I-65 reconstruction will zap what urban funds are available since all three projects will cost a combined total of $2.5 billion. Funding is not being cut on any projects, but there just isn't enough, especially with costs for one project in the $1 billion range.

No congestion on 64 west of 264????? Are you crazy? Thats the worst congestion in the metro probably. Try getting downtown from the eastern suburbs at 730 am. Better yet try getting downtown at 530 PM. Spaghetti Junction always causes the back up and it usually goes past the tunnels. Also, you are wrong....Louisville's traffic is significantly worse than Cincy, especially on the arteries out of downtown. Louisvillians spend an average of 12 more hours a year in traffic than Cincy and traffic in Louisvill is among the top 25 worst in the country right up there with Charlotte, etc. Things are getting bad here in the last 5 years....

http://mobility.tamu.edu/ums/congestion_da...nal/table_4.pdf

Going the other way, there is major congestion where 264 meets 64. It is just a really bad set up there with Hurstbourne coming in also. Plus, it is CRAZY that Louisville only has two interchcanges (hurstbourne and Blankenbaker) in the eastern suburbs. Whats even CRAZIER is that the only access to 71 is via Zorn Ave or the two beltways--literally only three exits in our entire county!!!! Even Carrol County has more exits.

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seicer    4

No congestion on 64 west of 264????? Are you crazy? Thats the worst congestion in the metro probably. Try getting downtown from the eastern suburbs at 730 am. Better yet try getting downtown at 530 PM. Spaghetti Junction always causes the back up and it usually goes past the tunnels. Also, you are wrong....Louisville's traffic is significantly worse than Cincy, especially on the arteries out of downtown. Louisvillians spend an average of 12 more hours a year in traffic than Cincy and traffic in Louisvill is among the top 25 worst in the country right up there with Charlotte, etc. Things are getting bad here in the last 5 years....

http://mobility.tamu.edu/ums/congestion_da...nal/table_4.pdf

Going the other way, there is major congestion where 264 meets 64. It is just a really bad set up there with Hurstbourne coming in also. Plus, it is CRAZY that Louisville only has two interchcanges (hurstbourne and Blankenbaker) in the eastern suburbs. Whats even CRAZIER is that the only access to 71 is via Zorn Ave or the two beltways--literally only three exits in our entire county!!!! Even Carrol County has more exits.

You can take a study and twist it many ways. The fact is, is that Louisville cannot expand its capacity on Interstate 64 west of Interstate 265 for the reasons I cited. It would require the demolition of the tunnels since boring a new tube is not an option (and this coming from an official in your district). And widening the highway through a sensitive region would not go over well.

Congestion occurs during two major periods - rush hour in the morning and rush hour in the evening. This happens in every metropolitian area in the United States and Louisville has delt with it quite well. The level-of-service, for instance, is not nearly as bad on Interstate 64 (using an average) than, say, Interstate 65 as it approaches downtown. Or Interstate 65 in southern Indiana (before the reconstruction). You can never design a roadway to have a L-O-S of acceptable during all conditions, because then we would be driving on 10-lane interstates that have flyovers and stacks at every interchange. You do the best that you can given the money that is involved and the projections 10-15 years down the road. The projections for I-64, for instance, were not expecting AADT values of what it is today. And even for a four-lane expressway, the AADT values for I-64, for instance, between I-264 and I-71, is just now approaching the 'safe' capacity level. The LOS for that stretch is "C", meaning that it is neither horrible or excellent. Improvements can be made, yes, such as extending the acceleration and deceleration lanes, expanding the queue lines at each interchange and adding dual-turn movements wherever possible, and adding park-and-ride lots with express shuttle bus service (as has been done on I-71 IIRC) to the downtown.

As for I-264/64, there will be work done on this in the upcoming years with the widening of the I-64W to I-264W ramp and some widening just to the west of the highway. And there will be a new interchange to the east of I-265 to service a local suburban road as well. As for the 'sparse' interchanges between I-264 and I-265, keep in mind that this growth did not occur in that region until the 1970's and 1980's. It was farmland, and when the highway was designed and built, two interchanges were more than adequate. Having more exits sandwiched in every one or two miles will increase congestion by providing more conflict points, merge chokeholds, and reduced LOS in the long-term. The AADT will increase to an unacceptable range for a six-lane expressway, as more people will use the interstate for short-haul driving, not for long-haul trips. Interstates are for through-traffic, not for those who use it to jump from exit to exit; that is why we have arterial roadways.

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