Kentucky is taking another step toward creating a six-lane Interstate 65 stretching from the Tennessee border to the Ohio River.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has awarded a nearly $139 million contract to the Bowling Green-based Scotty’s Contracting to rebuild 17 miles of I-65 in Hardin, Hart, and Larue counties. The effort would widen the road to six lanes from its current four, with three running both north and south.
The project is expected to be completed in 2017, and will stretch from mile point 65 in Hart County, near Munfordville, through Larue County and on to mile point 82 near Sonora in Hardin County. Once the latest widening is completed, only ten lanes of I-65 south of Elizabethtown will be four lanes.
The highway is already six lanes between Elizabethtown and Louisville.
The I-65 widening project began in 2000, with over $600 million dollars in contracts awarded for the effort.
A Hart County manufacturer is announcing plans to expand its facility and add jobs. Dart Container announced today that it will invest $23 dollars to build a new 650,000 square foot warehouse in Horse Cave.
Up to 30 new jobs are expected to be created through the expansion.
Dart Container currently employs approximately 1,400 people at its Hart County operation, where it manufactures cups, bowls, plates, and other food and beverage supplies.
The Michigan-based Dart Container Corporation has been preliminarily approved for $900,000 in state tax incentives and benefits in connection with the project.
This week’s snowfall and ice across parts of Kentucky are taking a toll on the Transportation Cabinet’s salt supply. Spokesman Chris Jessie says District 4 – which includes Hardin, Hart, Larue and eight other surrounding counties, has had to order reinforcements and borrow from the reserve stock in Louisville.
“We’re keeping close watch on the forecast through this upcoming week,” said Jessie. “So while we have salt on hand in our District 4 counties, if we continue to get these rounds of snow and ice as we’ve had over the past week, our situation will become more critical.”
He says crews are currently using salt “wisely”, but if supplies continue to diminish they may have to resort to conservation efforts. He says that means treating only main routes and those roadways with the highest volume of traffic.
“We want to be sure motorists understand this potential conservation method before we have to implement it,” said Jessie.
As of last week, the Transportation Cabinet said that crews had spread more than 220,000 tons of salt across the state this winter.
The widening of Interstate 65 to three lanes in each direction continues to move northward.
The next phase of the I-65 widening is between mile points 58 and 65, pushing north from Horse Cave and covering the Munfordville interchange. Work crews will close the outside lanes heading north and south this week in preparation of the paving of temporary lanes where shoulders currently exist.
Scotty’s Contracting—which has a nearly $64 million contract for the project—will install temporary barrier wall and begin work in the median.
Closures will take place each day through Thursday between 6 am and 5pm central, with traffic delays possible during peak afternoon hours.
Motorists are also cautioned that a speed limit reduction to 55 miles per hour will be in place through the new work zone.
The Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund has provided funding to help purchase a 90-acre tract in Hart County so that it can be preserved. Frenchman's Knob, just northeast of Bonnieville, will eventually be open to the public for hiking, bird watching and educational programs.
Today through Saturday, a tire amnesty drop-off program will be available in Hart County, Kentucky. Its part of a regional re-cycling effort that is designed to help reduce improper tire disposal. The Environmental Protection Agency says old tires account for about two percent of the solid waste disposal in the U.S.