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Hwy. 92 project included in state budget

With the final passage of the 2016-17 budget by the State Legislature last week funding for the long-awaited completion of KY 92 to the Whitley County line was included, but McCreary County may have to wait until next year before they see actual construction and progress on the road.

The on-again, off-again project is officially on again, with $33.3 million dedicated to the McCreary County side, and nearly $24 million for the Whitley County side, but don’t expect to see bulldozers moving earth any time soon.

According to Amber Hale, District 8 Public Information Officer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the right of way process for the McCreary County side of the project has been completed, but the District is waiting on the bidding process to begin.

Once the state opens up the bidding process for contractors, the local office will have a better idea on when to expect construction to begin. Hale stated it was possible to see bids returned by August, with construction beginning shortly after, but other factors could impact the overall time schedule of the project.

Those other factors come from the Whitley County side of the planned road.

That portion of the road is within District 11 purview, and that aspect is slightly behind the local efforts.

Of the money allocated for the Whitley County side, $1.8 million is listed for utility work in the 2016 fiscal year, and $22 million for construction – slated for the 2017 fiscal year. Whereas McCreary’s allocation is for construction under the 2016 fiscal year.

Hale stated with the project spanning two separate districts, coordination between the two entities would be an important factor in the project, and one district may be tasked to take on both sides since the road will be connected.

Once the bidding process begins and a clearer picture emerges of when to expect the project to begin, Hale said regular updates would be provided from the KYTC.

The biennial Highway Construction Plan took a curious route to final passage last Friday.

First introduced by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives in House Bill 305, the original draft omitted the KY 92 project and was sent to the Republican held Senate for approval.

The Senate re-inserted the local plan, along with several other changes to the bill, and sent it back to the House for approval.

But, with no agreement between the two bodies in place, the Senate stripped the language from House Bill 129, which had previously dealt with parental rights, and inserted the road plan language in its place.

The House voted 96-1-2 to pass the new bill.

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