FRANKFORT, Ky. - Governor Ernie Fletcher and Congressman Hal Rogers joined state and local officials today to cut the ribbon on a $58 million highway investment in Somerset. The project includes a newly completed section of U.S. 27 and lays the foundation for a portion of the future Interstate 66 corridor.
"Our close partnership with Congressman Rogers and his staff is helping us lay a solid foundation for the future of this entire region," said Governor Fletcher. "Today we christen an investment that will strengthen the local economy and improve safety. The major groundwork for Somerset's northern bypass and the future I-66 corridor is now complete. This solidifies our unyielding commitment to build roads to opportunities."
The project involved a major widening and relocation of 4.7 miles of U.S. 27, from KY 80 to Norwood Road. In addition, preliminary grade and drain work was completed on 1.2 miles of the future I-66 corridor, which will double as Somerset's northern bypass. Groundwork for a new interchange with the future I-66 corridor and U.S. 27 was also included in the contract.
U.S. Rep. Rogers (R-KY 5th), who shepherded federal funding for the project, said the new road and future interstate will have a major impact on the area.
"Investment in our road infrastructure is incredibly important to keeping up with the tremendous growth our region is experiencing," stated Rogers. "Literally, thousands of working men and women, school children, UK alumni headed to the ballgame, and vacationers southbound to beautiful Lake Cumberland, will use this new and improved segment of U.S. 27 everyday. The four lane expansion and realignment will cut down on congestion that clogs our roadways, while providing commuters with greater safety and access - access that includes important linkages to future Interstate 66. I'm pleased to join Governor Fletcher for this ribbon-cutting ceremony and appreciate the state investment and foresight in this critical project."
Transportation Cabinet officials expect to award construction contracts for the remaining sections of the northern and southwestern bypass later this year. Simultaneously, the cabinet continues to push forward with the comprehensive effort to relocate and widen older sections of U.S. 27 from Somerset to Lexington.
"This project will have a significant impact on the future of this community," said Sen. Vernie McGaha (R-Russell Springs). "I appreciate the commitment Governor Fletcher and Congressman Rogers have made to make this project a reality. Thanks to the cooperation among all levels and branches of government, we are marking a significant accomplishment that will provide new opportunities for future generations in Pulaski County."
"This is a momentous day for the people of Pulaski County," said Rep. Tommy Turner (R-Somerset). "I want to thank Congressman Rogers and Governor Fletcher for their continued support for this critical highway project. Looking forward, the stage is now set for a brighter future ahead, as we continue the work together to improve our transportation infrastructure."
Rep. Danny Ford (R-Mt. Vernon) echoed those sentiments. "This is a great day for the people of Pulaski County," said Ford. "Governor Fletcher and Congressman Rogers are to be commended for helping move the U.S. 27 improvements, and the I-66 corridor initiative forward. Both projects will deliver new opportunities to our region."
Traffic will be routed onto the new section of U.S. 27 beginning Tuesday, September 4, 2007. For additional information regarding Kentucky's highway network, visit the Transportation Cabinet's website at www.transportation.ky.gov. For more information about the I-66 corridor visit www.interstate66.com.