Residents not for 89 expansion, mayor is
A proposed reconstruction of KY Highway 89 from North Main Street to the Joseph Proctor Memorial Bypass was discussed at a meeting at Estill Springs Elementary School on Tuesday April 10.
According to Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 10 Public Information Officer H. B. Elkins, approximately 35 residents attended. These included property owners, business owners, public officials and others who are concerned.
The project, if completed, will widen the existing lanes and add a turning lane from just south of Rice Street to the bypass and will tie into the construction now underway to reroute KY 89 to bypass the high school.
At the meeting the group viewed design plans and were told which properties would be effected. Joanne Jones, owner of Headhunters, was concerned about how much of her parking lot would be taken for the project.
“I really prefer that they not do this at all,” Jones said. “If they do, I would rather they buy my business than to ruin it.”
Her next door neighbor, Earl Howell, at Howell’s Food Mart feels much the same way.
“We don’t have a traffic problem here and I don’t see that we need this. I am against it and think it will ruin all the businesses out here,” he said.
The project also will include sidewalks and curbing which Jones said would hinder her clients entering and leaving her parking lot as well as that of Howell’s Market and the Right Place.
Irvine Mayor Ernest Farmer said as a public official he has to be for the project.
“I think it is better for the community. I feel that better roads make a better community,” Farmer said. “But I want the people to be well compensated for their losses.”
The following information was given to those at the meeting and explains what the highway department plans:
The project begins within the north side city limits of Irvine just south of Rice Street and extends approximately 2.6 miles to a point just north of the Estill County Middle and High School campuses. The need for this project was apparent from numerous sight distance and geometric deficiencies along the existing route.
The southern section was developed for final design as an urban typical section with a 35 mph design speed. The typical section includes two travel lanes, a two-way continuous left turn lane and curb and gutter. Sidewalks were also proposed for areas likely to receive pedestrian traffic based on input from the public.
There are also two bridges over streams on this section at the Sweet Lick Branch and White Oak Creek crossings.
The northern section was considered the most critical for project advancement because of a dangerous sharpcurve at the intersection with KY 1840 and the important connection to the Estill County High and Middle schools.
A two-lane typical section with full width shoulders and a design speed of 55 mph was used here. This section alsorequired mitigation of potential acid mine drainage.
The current Kentucky Six-Year Plan budget (2010) for the project is: Right of way: $2,100,000; utilities relocation: $890,000; construction: $3,120,000
The project began in the Fall of 1997 and included preliminary and final engineering design as well as environmental evaluation. Public involvement included presentation of alternate alignments and incorporation of public feedback into the design process.
Through public input, it was learned that a potentially historic cemetery was located on the proposed roadway section north of the Irvine bypass, which required realignment of the preferred design.
Following the preliminary engineering phase, it was decided to let the project as two separate construction sections; south of the Irvine bypass and north of the Irvine bypass. In 2001 the right of way plans for both projects were completed. The project was then put on hold awaiting available construction funding. In 2009 the north section of the project was advanced through final design and right of way was purchased.
Construction of the north section of the project is currently underway.
The south section of the project is now being advanced and it was agreed to update the public on the current design and again seek public input on this section of the project.
The final design on the project is scheduled for review in 2013 with construction letting is planned for the spring of 2014.
The project manager will receive written comments on the project through May 2. Contact Corbett, Caudill Project Engineer at the Kentucky Department of Highways, P. O. Box 621, Jackson, Ky. 41339.