Kentucky Wrapping Up Work on KY80/461 Project

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet recently held an event to highlight completion of a long-awaited interchange and road widening project that will bring greater safety and less traffic congestion to tourism-rich Pulaski County.

[Above photo by KYTC]

The event specifically marked the completion of two new interchanges at the juncture of KY 80 and KY 461; two routes that see steady and heavy streams of traffic, including vacationers going to and from Lake Cumberland. The project is also widening to four lanes on more than three miles of KY 461.

The $51 million KY80/461 project – funded in part with a $25 million Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development or BUILD grant and $26 million from state-federal apportionment and local matching funds – largely focuses on improving those two interchanges and widening lanes for safety.

However, those funds are also being used to purchase new intelligent transportation systems including improved lighting, electronic messaging boards, camera monitoring systems, and upgraded signage.

KYTC noted that project construction began in late 2020 after the state won that competitive BUILD grant and other federal funding awards in early 2019.

Jim Gray. Photo by KYTC.

KYTC Secretary Jim Gray noted in a statement that such “well-built and well-maintained transportation infrastructure” is key to unlocking economic development opportunities and improving the quality of life across the Bluegrass state.

“Our roads aren’t red or blue,” he added. “They’re for the people of Kentucky and the millions of visitors that come to our great state.”

“This project will save lives and be crucial to local tourism and commerce,” said Pulaski County Judge-Executive Marshall Todd.

“This was a very dangerous intersection,” he noted. “When we looked at the traffic congestion and the collisions that came with that original intersection, we saw that something was needed to help with that and open up this area even more for future development.”

Chris Girdler – president and CEO of Somerset-Pulaski Economic Development Authority – added at the event that safety also proved critical to the growing freight activity in the county.

In particular he pointed to increased activity at the Valley Oak Complex – an industrial park on KY 461 that has over 3,000 employees and handles more than 1,000 tractor-trailers in and out of the site on a weekly basis; a number expected to grow with the planned construction of a multi-million dollar apartment complex and a childcare center.

“This road project … has drastically improved safety for the thousands employed within the Valley Oak Commerce Complex and millions who travel to Lake Cumberland annually,” Girdler noted.

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