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Widening of the Mountain Parkway in eastern Kentucky

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hbelkins:
Preliminary work is underway on planning for widening a portion of the Mountain Parkway in eastern Kentucky from an undivided two- and three-lane route to a four-lane divided highway.

A public hearing was conducted last night to allow for public comments as the environmental assessment is completed. It's expected that a FONSI will be issued and the project can proceed to selection of an alignment from among the alternatives some time next year.

No funding is currently in place for phase II design, ROW acquisition, utility relocation or construction. The section under study is a 17-mile stretch from Exit 57 in Wolfe County to Exit 75 in Magoffin County.

Press release on the hearing is at http://tinyurl.com/lgxu62

Pre-hearing press release is at http://tinyurl.com/nwshw7

Television coverage on WMYT-TV from their 6 p.m. local newscast on Aug. 27 is located at http://tinyurl.com/lmq8ff

Further coverage on WMYT-TV's 11 p.m. newscast of the same date is at http://tinyurl.com/mt65c3. Choose the 11 p.m. newscast from WYMT-TV (not WKYT-TV) on Aug. 27 and forward the video to the 10:30 mark.

I have PDFs of the exhibits showing aerial photographs with property lines and potential alternative corridors superimposed at work. I'll try to post them somewhere on Monday.

SP Cook:
Was any consideration given to keeping the tolls on to pay for this, back in the 80s?  It seems to me that this road, unlike the Daniel Boone, paid itself off in good order, and could have been expanded to 4 lanes with a continuation of the tolls for maybe 10-15 more years.

hbelkins:
There was discussion of leaving the tolls on, not to pay for expansion, but to keep up maintenance. However, there was a huge public outcry of opposition and the idea was quickly abandoned as fast as that trial balloon was shot down. My understanding is that the idea of reinstituting the tolls to pay for expansion has been floated but as of now is a non-starter in Frankfort.

The Daniel Boone was on schedule to pay the bonds off but the congressional appropriation allowed it and the Cumberland to be paid off ahead of schedule. A similar appropriation a couple of years later resulted in the tolls being removed from the Green River and Audubon parkways.

(Is anyone else having trouble getting the "quote" function to work to reply to posts? It is not working for me, and I've tried in Safari and Firefox both.)

Chris:

--- Quote from: hbelkins on August 28, 2009, 10:23:28 PM ---There was discussion of leaving the tolls on, not to pay for expansion, but to keep up maintenance. However, there was a huge public outcry of opposition and the idea was quickly abandoned as fast as that trial balloon was shot down.
--- End quote ---

Oh I love that American mentality... We Europeans accept everything the government does  X-(

By Mountain Parkway you mean the "Bert T. Combs Mountain Parkway" from Winchester to Salyersville?

SP Cook:
Yes, that is the road in question.  Kentucky went on an, unfortunate IMHO, spate of renaming its named parkways after politicians.

Kentucky is in the minority of states that operated its toll system under what I consider an honest basis.

Kentucky built, starting in the 1960s, an entire system of "parkways" (these are ordinary expressways, not scenic routes) on a toll basis.  Some are 4-lane and, except to the most geeky of road geeks, indistinguishable from interstates, while others were built to the "super 2" standard.  Kentucky promised to take the tolls off as the roads were paid off.  And it did.  The last four roads were, as mentioned above, paid off early by a federal appropriation.

Other states that kept their promise were Connecticuit and Virginia, along with the Canadian provence of Quebec.

Most states, however, have kept tolls on, despite promises and even in the direct face of laws, for generations after pay off, often diverting money to all manner of non-transportation projects.

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