Newtown Pike extension project to be discussed

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City and state officials talked about a recently ignited controversy surrounding the Newtown Pike extension plan.

Gov. Steve Beshear and Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry announced that the state will pay to bury power lines around the new construction after many outraged citizens brought the problem to their attention.

The extension aims to develop a 4-lane corridor from West Main Street at Newtown Pike to South Limestone at Scott Street near the University of Kentucky.
The estimated cost of the project is around $87-million; most of which is federally funded. Officials are calling the project a critical gateway to Lexington and for the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games.

Governor Beshear said during a news conference that Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry called him and told him that many people living in the area were upset that the new construction project would be marred by unsightly power lines. That's why, he says the state will foot that part of the bill.

"I simply told our transportation cabinet, 'look. If there's any way possible that we can do this, then we need to do this."

Beshear says the cabinet will use some contingency funds that are available to bury the power lines.

"I think everybody involved in it wanted to accomplish the same goal. And when you have those kinds of collaborative conversations, it works pretty well," explained Mayor Newberry.

Beshear says the final cost of burying the power lines is not known. The estimated cost for overhead power lines is about $35 a foot. The estimated cost for burying power lines is about $475 a foot.

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