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Mayor: Western bypass route that’s close to town will help ease trafffic, congestion

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 — At Tuesday’s Bardstown City Council meeting, Mayor Dick Heaton emphasized that the City of Bardstown was firmly in favor of a western bypass route with a path that is close to the city — exactly like the route unveiled Monday to the public and local officials.

Mayor Dick Heaton told the Bardstown City Council that the western bypass route that is closer to the city will provide the quickest relief to the increasing traffic and congestion.

Heaton said two routes for a western bypass remain on the table — the outer one that would start near Old Airport Road and connect with KY 245, and the route closer to Bardstown that would initially connect Boston Road to KY 245 near Wilson Parkway.

The inner bypass route works best for the interest of the City and its residents.

EXPENSE. Because the inner bypass is shorter — just under 2 miles in length — its cost is significantly less than the outer bypass at 7 miles (or more). The estimated cost to build the inner bypass is about $8 million; the estimated cost for the outer bypass is between $20 and $30 million.

“Its a better return on investment, and it has a much greater chance of being built because it is a less expensive project,” Heaton said. “The state’s own analysis support that the inner bypass is the better choice.”

Councilman Roland “Coach Roe” Williams makes a point during Tuesday’s council meeting.

FUTURE CONGESTION. Now that the Cedar Creek Quarry is in operation off Old Airport Road, and the Mago asphalt plant has relocated to that area, the amount of truck traffic on Boston Road will continue to increase, he said.

“The truck traffic alone is going to be five to seven thousand trips per month,” Heaton said. “Some months could go as high as 9,000 trips per month.”

“That means that we could have 20 to 30 trucks coming into the Court Square per hour,” he said. “And that doesn’t include the traffic generated by the city’s four high schools, middle schools or elementary schools, the factories or distilleries.”

Some of the trucks have been observed taking short cuts through city side streets, like Jones Avenue, and traveling North Fifth Street to Templin to access KY 245. City streets were never built to handle the heavy truck loads that state roads are, meaning that road maintenance could be an issue if trucks continue to use side streets.

SAFETY. One of the biggest concerns is the safety of traffic on West Stephen Foster Avenue, North Fifth Street and Templin Avenue — roads that pass in front of seven local schools. Traffic is already slow during dismissals at the schools; the addition of additional trucks will potentially snarl traffic further.

Heaton said $500,000 has been allocated to the preliminary design work on the bypass. He said he had hopes that with the support of the community, the bypass can be included on the state’s six-year road plan and its construction funded.

Because it is a smaller project, Heaton said right-of-way acquisition and other parts of the project will take less time.

“I think the City is overdue for state road funding,” he said. “Its not something that’s going to happen overnight, but we need to make our needs known to the state.”

In a best-case scenario, the bypass could be built in about six years, Heaton said.

BARDSTOWN BOURBON INCENTIVE. The council approved an incentive for the Bardstown Bourbon Co. that will credit the company for 1/2 of the occupational taxes paid by the new employees it hires following an $18 million expansion project.

The credit to the company will expire after 10 years. The incentive program was created as part of the Kentucky Business Investment Program created in 2009 by the Kentucky General Assembly.

In other business, the council:

— approved a $500 donation to the Nelson County Community Clinic for their 5k “Run for the Health of It” event.

— approved a request for a cost-sharing agreement with a property owner to extend a water main approximately one mile. The city will share the cost by paying the difference to upgrade the water main from a minimum size of 8-inches to a 12-inch water main.

— heard a report that the roof of the Rec. Center gym on Xavier Drive is apparently leaking. Water is getting into the building, Councilman David Dones explained. Water also appears to be coming through the brick in some areas. Mayor Heaton suggested getting an estimate on repairs so they can be included in the next fiscal year’s budget.

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