02-15-2012

Governor breaks ground on U.S. 641 extension project

Kentucky Press News Service

MARION – Gov. Steve Beshear, joined by local officials, broke ground Wednesday morning for “grade and drain” construction along U.S. 641 in Crittenden County. The $18 million, 5.5-mile project is the first step in a major expansion of a key route in western Kentucky.

“This new highway, when complete, will provide Crittenden County with a direct link to I-69,” Beshear said in a statement from his office. “The new road will help attract new investment and provide a better and much-needed route for existing industries for Crittenden County and the surrounding area.”

The project area extends from just south of Marion to the northern edge of Fredonia near the Crittenden-Caldwell county line. The 5.5-mile section is expected to be complete in 360 working days. At a rate of about 175 working days per year, it would be ready for paving in late 2014 or early 2015.

“I am proud to have played a role in getting the funding for this very important project,” state Sen. Dorsey Ridley, of Henderson, said. “The extension of U.S. 641 will make the area more accessible for our local citizens, new commerce and tourists. This project is an investment in Crittenden County and the surrounding area.”

Plans call for the new four-lane highway to cross the existing two-lane U.S. 641 between the Fredonia City limits and the Caldwell-Crittenden County Line. The highway will route west of Fredonia to closely follow the existing highway within a few miles of Eddyville. When completed, the new highway will connect to I-69 and I-24 at mile point 0.

“This has been my No. 1 transportation project since being elected in 1998, so it’s extremely gratifying that now, in my last year in the Legislature, I am able to participate in this historic groundbreaking event,” Rep. Mike Cherry, of Princeton, said.

The estimated cost of the entire, 16-mile project is about $109 million – $39 million for the Marion-to-Fredonia section and $70 million for the section from Fredonia to Eddyville.