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Routing future growth

Best path sought to connect
Old Henry Road to Crestwood

Options designed to avoid historic Waldeck farm

By Ruth Wright
Staff Writer

CRESTWOOD, Ky. (Sept. 2003) – The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has narrowed to four the alternative routes for construction of a highway connecting the Old Henry Road interchange at I-265 (Gene Snyder Freeway) in Jefferson County to Hwy. 22

Traffic on Hwy. 146 in Pewee Valley.

Photo by Ruth Wright

Traffic on Hwy. 146 in Pewee Valley.

near Crestwood in Oldham County, inching the project closer to realization. The purpose of the project, No. 5-367 on the transportation cabinet’s Six-Year Plan, will be to divert traffic from Hwy. 146, alleviating congestion on the heavily-traveled road.
“If you’ve been on 146 in the evenings, then you understand the problem,” said Oldham County Engineer Orville Threlkeld. The road, currently a main thoroughfare from Pewee Valley to Crestwood, is typically clogged by morning and evening rush-hour traffic. A new road would “provide both an alternate route for individuals traveling to Crestwood and points east and offer improved accessibility within the project corridor,” according to the purpose and need statement.
Transportation cabinet officials held a public meeting Aug. 28 at Eastern High School in Middletown to discuss two route options, which run mostly through Jefferson County. A second public meeting is planned for 6 p.m. on Sept. 4 at South Oldham High School in Crestwood to discuss two route options in Oldham County.
In Jefferson County, both Alignments 45-B and 45-C run from I-265 along the existing section of Old Henry Road, continuing northeast to Factory Lane, where 45-B jogs to the north; 45-C to the south. In Oldham County, the alignments rejoin to cross Hwy. 362 near the beginning of Hawley Gibson Road. From there Alignment 5 continues north, crossing Old Floydsburg Road and continuing northeast. Alignment 6 continues east near Red Penn Landfill, crossing Floyds Fork twice before swinging back to the north. Both Oldham alignments cross Currys Fork and intersect Hwy. 22 approximately three-fourths of a mile east of the Crestwood bypass.

Waldeck Mansion

Photo by Don Ward

Waldeck Mansion in Crestwood, Ky.

The entire 4.5- to 5.5-mile road (the length varies by route) is envisioned as being four lanes with a grass median that can accommodate left turn lanes, according to transportation cabinet documents. The design includes a 10-foot multi-purpose path to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists on one side of the Jefferson County section. The proposed speed limit is 45 mph in Jefferson County and 55 mph in Oldham County.
Cost of the project, which is scheduled in the current Six-Year Plan at $25.5 million for right-of-way, utilities and construction, changes from day to day and varies by route, said Andrea Clifford, transportation cabinet public information officer.
Funding for preliminary design was authorized in July 1998, Clifford said, but construction and environmental concerns have made determining a suitable route difficult and delayed progress. The transportation office’s District 5 Design Engineer, Kevin Villier, cited historic properties, new development, waterways, flood plains and a Texas Gas line as some of the issues that have slowed down the planning phase.
In 1999, three alternative alignments in Oldham County were developed through public comment and the input of a Citizen Advisory Committee. A fourth was added when concerns were raised about alignments near Floydsburg, a potential historic district. All four alternatives, which linked directly to Hwy. 22 at the Crestwood bypass, were dismissed, and two new routes were designed when Waldeck Farm and Mansion was nominated for the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. This put the project into a “Section 4(f) Condition,” according to transportation cabinet documents.
Defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Section 4(f) states that: “A transportation program that requires the use of publicly owned land of a public park, or wildlife and waterfowl refuge, or land from an historic site of national, state, or local significance may only be approved if: there is no prudent and feasible alternative to using that land; and the program includes all possible planning to minimize harm to the public park, wildlife and waterfowl refuge, or historic site resulting from the use.”
Waldeck owner David Gleason researched records to verify the original boundaries of the farm and applied for historic registry designation to protect his property when he became aware that the transportation cabinet was considering alternative routes through the property close to the mansion. Waldeck was added to the national register in 2001, forcing transportation officials to reconsider their proposed routes. Now, “We have to do everything we can to avoid it,” Villier said.
The alternative routes currently being proposed have less of an impact on the historic property but still include a cut through the farm. “As far as the mansion, which was our first consideration, it’s not as invasive. But from a farming perspective, it’s much worse,” said Gleason. “It affects a lot of our better farmland.”
Gleason is worried that while the 323 acres of his land listed on the national register is protected, the majority of the farm is still at risk. “They do almost anything to minimize the number of property owners and the number of relocations,” said Gleason. “So when we’re sitting here with 1,400 acres of farm land, it’s much easier for them to affect us than it would be to affect a dozen or more others,” Gleason said.
Villier confirmed that the transportation cabinet attempts to minimize the number of relocations due to new roads. The alternate routes now being proposed would require between 1 (Alignment 6) and 14 (Alignment 5/5-3) relocations. The routes would still affect a section of Gleason’s farm, which because of its size and location is nearly impossible to avoid completely.
This is not the only project proposed by the transportation cabinet that would affect Waldeck, said Gleason. He cited the cabinet’s plan to widen and straighten a section of Hwy. 22 between Crestwood and Centerfield. Part of the road runs alongside Gleason’s fields and would require moving fence posts, he said.
“They look at this as vacant land, not farm land. But the fact of the matter is, at some point it becomes difficult for us to run it as a farm when every single project impacts our fields, which is where we make our money,” Gleason said. “What we’ve told them is that we’d be open to helping with that (Hwy. 22) if they would give us some consideration with preserving some of our back fields.”
Gleason and other citizens are encouraged by the transportation cabinet to attend public meetings to provide their input about where the road should go. The Hwy. 22 widening project and the Old Henry Road-to-Crestwood connector are two of nine projects in Oldham County included in the transportation cabinet’s Six-Year Plan. Other projects include major widening of Hwy. 393, both north and south of I-71, landslide repair on Hwy. 1694, rockfall mitigation on Hwy. 1793, safety-hazard elimination on I-71, pavement rehabilitation on I-71 and weigh station rehabilitation on I-71.
Another project being considered is a new interchange on I-71 between the I-265 exit in Jefferson County and Crestwood Exit 14 in Oldham County. “Under the previous administration, the planning and zoning staff worked with the Jefferson County Public Works Department to help secure matching funding in the amount of $10,000 from Oldham County to hire a consultant to prepare a study for a new interchange on I-71,” said Oldham County Planning & Zoning Administrator Louise Allen. The project hasn’t been added to the cabinet’s Six-Year Plan, but “it has been on a wish list for years,” said Villier.
That wish list includes several projects that would help alleviate traffic problems in Oldham County, where residential growth has put a strain on many of the county’s rural two-lane roads.
In addition to relieving congestion on Hwy. 146, the Old Henry Road-to-Crestwood connector would also help the flow of traffic once some of the commercial projects now being developed in the area are complete. These include a new dentist’s office being built at the northeast corner of Hwy. 329-B and Hwy. 22 and the Pleasant Colony development, which will include a CVS Pharmacy, on the northwest corner of the busy Hwy. 329-B and Hwy. 146 intersection.
Transportation cabinet officials have not estimated a construction time period for the new road. After a route is determined, an environmental assessment will be completed, then a public hearing will be held. If “no significant impacts” are determined, final right-of-way and construction plans will be developed. Officials hope to be ready for the public hearing by spring 2004. The schedule for right-of-way, utilities and construction will be evaluated in the 2004 update of the Six-Year Plan, officials said. It is not known when funding will be made available.

Map of Possible Routes

Map of Possible Routes

Back to September 2003 Articles.

 

 

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