In a study led by consulting firm, Michael Baker International, the MPO and KYTC are analyzing the feasibility of a new interchange along the southern portion of Interstate-65 in Warren County. Local leaders have recognized the quickly growing population in the southern portion of Warren County; much of this spearheaded by the opening of the South Warren schools. With this growth has come a fair share of increased travel on roads all across southern Warren County. The need for roadway improvements in this area is high, and the need to provide greater accessibility and connectivity for the growing population is also high. The MPO has long had a new interchange on its project wish list, but the time has yet to be relevant to seriously consider such a large project, until now. The study is being funded by federal and state transportation planning dollars, which were set to lapse if not utilized.
The three conceptual locations being analyzed by the consultant firm are: Carter Sims Road, KY 242 (Richpond Road), and KY 240 (Woodburn-Allen Springs Road). The first public meeting introducing the study was held this past September, where public input was gathered and is being used to shape the recommendations and further analysis. A second public meeting to review the alternatives in more detail will be held on March 16th over a virtual meeting platform. More details for this public meeting will be forthcoming.
We receive a lot of comments questioning future land use in the area surrounding a potentially new interchange. We also receive questions about a timeline for construction. To answer the latter, a lot has to happen in order for a new interstate interchange to receive construction funds. The short answer is, should this recommended project get funded, it will take years before construction funds are allocated. Interstates must meet federal guidelines and must pass through all necessary approvals from the Federal Highway Administration. Then, a project must go through several phases before we actually get to use the completed project: planning, design, right-of-way acquisition, utility work, and then construction. This could be anywhere from 5 to 15 years, should local leaders want to pursue the recommendations from this study. To answer the question regarding land use, that is ultimately up to our elected officials (Fiscal Court), as they have final approvals on development proposals. However, the Planning Commission and MPO staff will work to create a focal point plan and/or necessary agreements to encourage and ensure the needs and desires of the local constituents are met. An example of this is the Plano Road Focal Point Plan and Memorandum of Understanding by and between local land use and transportation planning agencies. Together, these documents essentially safe-guard the area to meet compatible land use and development standards set forth by the governing bodies.
More information can be found on the project’s website: https://interstate65-baker.hub.arcgis.com/.