road overpass project
planned to alleviate
La Grange congestion
Helen E. McKinney
LA GRANGE, Ky. (August 2006) With the flow
of everyday traffic through La Grange increasing rapidly, plans are
being sought to alleviate any unwanted traffic problems that may result
as an extension of the citys unceasing economic growth. One solution
is to construct an overpass to draw some of the traffic off of Hwy.
by Don Ward
new overpass is expected
to ease congestion at Hwy. 53
and I-71 interchange, where
traffic backs up regularly.
A proposed I-71 overpass project would begin at Allen
Lane in Commerce Parkway and go south to New Moody Lane. Improvements
would occur in the form of additional lanes at the intersection of Hwy.
53 and New Moody Lane.
Joe Schoenbaechler, Oldham County Economic Development Authority, said
a committee made up of representatives from the county judges
office was formed to select a consultant for this project. The consulting
firm of DLZ of Frankfort, Ky., was chosen to conduct a field survey
for this project.
With more than 85 years of service, DLZ has more than 600 employees
at 18 office locations throughout the Midwest and Massachusetts, according
to company officials. Formerly known as Brighton A&E, the company
in 2004 became a subsidiary of DLZ Corp.
DLZ was instrumental in the McAlpine Locks and Dam Bridge Project in
Louisville. This project included construction of a new parallel 1,200-foot
lock chamber to match the existing lock chamber. DLZ designed the bridge
and provided further engineering services during the construction phase.
Plans for the I-71 overpass project were stated in the master plan for
Commerce Parkway and approved one year ago, said Schoenbaechler. The
original plans called for an interchange but this would have been too
close to Exit 22 and Hwy. 53.
Plans call for moving forward as quickly as possible with the overpass
project. A total of $15 million has been earmarked for design and construction.
State Sen. Ernie Harris backed this project.
It is essential to get it built. It will ultimately relieve the
Hwy 53 congestion, he said. Not only will it provide a direct
access to Commerce Parkway but also open up the entire 1,000 acres.
With the Rawlings Corp. locating in the Parkway, there will be an estimated
750 to 900 people traveling to and from Commerce Parkway everyday, said
Harris. This will cause more traffic problems along Hwy 53.
Harris said he hopes to get the overpass project contracted within the
next two years and build it quickly. Our goal is to award a contract
this budget cycle, he said.
Harris said he has been surprised at how little the community knows
about the planned I-71 overpass project. I dont think they
know how important it was to get it in the (Kentucky Transportation
Cabinets) Six-Year budget plan. The Economic and Transportation
Depart-ments, and representatives of the Greater Louisville Chamber
of Commerce saw a need for this overpass, he said.
The funding is there, said Harris. That was the last
hurdle to climb.
In the Six-Year budget plan (for years 2006-2012) funding was authorized
for several stages, said Andrea Clifford, Public Information Officer
for the Louisville office of the Kentucky Transportation Depart-ment.
Oldham County is taking the lead on this project, said Clifford.
The county must hire a consultant and see to other details of the project
phases. Through a memorandum of agreement, the Transportation Department
will reimburse some of the funding, said Clifford.
Scheduling can change at this point due to a number of factors, since
this project is in the early stage. State funding for the fiscal year
2007 includes $2 million; right-of-way scheduling includes $1 million
for 2008; utilities relocation is budgeted at $1 million for 2008; and
construction is slated to cost $11 million for 2008.
The main advantage to this project is in creating an alternate route
for motorists, said Schoenbaechler. His goal is to make people
see the good in a 1,000 acre development. Schoenbaech-ler is referring
to the 1,000-acre business park, Commerce Parkway.
Traffic studies and a La Grange Beautification study will be done to
see how to best enhance the area, he said. Community input is sought
in the design of this project.
Our project stops at Commerce Parkway, said Schoenbaechler.
A second, separate project will involve reworking of a one-mile stretch
of Hwy. 53 from I-71 to Main Street.
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