Thursday, March 30, 2000

N. Ky. studying east-west route

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Kentucky highway officials are studying a proposal that could eventually link all three Northern Kentucky counties by widening, straightening and extending Ky. 536 to the AA Highway.

        Ky. 536 is not one specific road, but actually several roads through Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties.

        The total length of the new east/west road would be more than 30 miles, but the state has not allocated money for the majority of the project.

        Project manager Mike Bezold of the state transportation cabinet said he doesn't expect the road to be complete until at least 2030.

        Citizens will have a chance to look at possible corridor alignments through Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties at the last of three public hearings from 4 to 7 p.m. tonight at Campbell County High School.

        “We're looking to provide a corridor, to build a local road so people can get to work, to their jobs, to get to school, wherever they need to go,” Mr. Bezold said.

        State officials say that within this east/west corridor there are many narrow and winding roads that carry a lot of traffic.

        Dangerous driving conditions exist in many locations along Ky. 237 and Ky. 536 from Burlington Pike, south to Union and eastward toward Alexandria.

        “There is no good east/west corridor in these counties except (Interstate) 275,” Mr. Bezold said, adding that despite the bad turns, unsafe railroad crossings and blind spots, people are choosing to take the roads anyway.

        “It's an unsafe facility for people trying to use it,” he said.

        Richard Guidi, state highway preconstruction manager for Northern Kentucky, said the east/west corridor issue often comes up.

        “Every time we ask, the comments we get are that we need better east/west roads,” he said.

        Certain segments of the road would be two-lane, three-lane and five-lane.

        “It all depends on what's warranted,” Mr. Bezold said.

        Boone County Judge-executive Gary Moore said he supports the proposal. “That gives us a road through the center part of the county,” he said. “It's definitely needed to improve the current road system in the middle of the county.”

        A few hundred people have commented to the transportation cabinet, many saying they don't want the road in their backyards. Others say they know there is a need.

        “A lot of people couldn't understand why we didn't do it 20 years ago,” Mr. Bezold said.

        The study should be complete by the end of the summer.


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