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County government update: Road Dept.

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By John Logan Brent

 

This week I will highlight Henry County’s roads and a few of the projects that are in the works.

With well over 200 miles of roads in the county system, there is always work to be done.

This year’s budget allowed for resurfacing on 17 different roads for a total of 4,150 tons of blacktop laid at a cost of around $275,000. These funds come from taxes on gasoline that we all pay at the pump. The state collects these dollars and remits them based on a formula to each county.

Many people are surprised when I tell them that no local property tax dollars are used to fund the county road department.

Chestnut Hills subdivision in Pendleton was paved this summer. This is significant because it was the first time that the county executed a held bond with a bank on a developer that went broke. This is a concrete example of one of the benefits of Planning and Zoning.

Before Planning and Zoning, there was not protection in place for the homeowners in this type of situation. Without the bond, homeowners would have had to pay out of their own pockets to bring the road up to standards so that the county could take it on for maintenance.

While the judge-executive and magistrates are not directly responsible for the 250 or so miles of state roads in Henry County, we still field a lot of calls about state roads. We often lobby and work along-side state employees and officials to see improvements made.

One project that so many of us have worked on is the widening and straightening of KY 146 between New Castle and Pendleton. The status of the KY 146 project breaks down as follows: engineer’s final design, Jan 2014; right-of-way and utility relocation to begin March 2014; the Pendleton to Safety Kleen portion of construction to begin Jan 2016.

I know for those of you who live on KY 146 there will be questions over the next several years and if our office can’t answer them, we will try and get you to someone who can.

Just last week, I received a call from a property owner about a letter she had received in regards to a test boring being done on the edge of her property. I was able to speak with the engineers and answer her questions.

Other state projects that your local officials have been actively involved in are the  Bicker’s Hill project on KY 574 and the resurfacing of portions of KY 389 and KY 561 between Lockport and Gestville.

The KY 574 project will cut down the dangerous blind hill just outside of Campbellsburg. Construction will take place the summer of 2014.

Residents in the far east end of the county have been anxiously waiting road repairs that are needed due to the building of the new dam at Lock 3 in Gestville.

When 150 full concrete trucks traveled the road in a 24-hour period, they did a pretty good job of finding the weak spots. This happened numerous times. Thanks to the help of State Rep. Rick Rand and the governor, two separate special appropriations of state money were made. The KY 561 portion will be completely resurfaced this fall and a portion of KY 389 is scheduled for base repairs and resurfacing in 2014.

One other road project that county, city and state officials are committed to working on is the widening of north Main Street in Eminence. This project was ranked number one in the KIPDA transportation priority rankings.

I think all of us will be making a push to get this in the six-year road plan this winter.

The Fiscal Court Road Committee consists of Jerry Beasley (Chair), Mike Fisher, and Nick Hawkins. The Henry County Road Supervisor is Glenn Baxter. The road department number is 845-5725.