MADISONVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – Governor Steve Beshear unveiled a new red, white and blue highway sign marking the designation of Interstate 69 for a section of the Edward T. Breathitt Pennyrile Parkway on Monday.
When complete, the I-69 corridor will run north to south from the Ohio River at Henderson to the Tennessee line at Fulton – approximately 155 miles. In addition to the Pennyrile Parkway, the corridor includes sections of I-24, the Wendell H. Ford Western Kentucky Parkway and the Julian M. Carroll Purchase Parkway.
The Governor today was the featured guest at a ceremony organized by the Madisonville-Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce. It culminated with Gov. Beshear and Thomas Nelson Jr., Kentucky Division administrator for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), peeling away a green-and-white “Future I-69” road sign to reveal a red, white and blue I-69 shield sign beneath it.
The new I-69 designation applies to the northern leg of the Pennyrile Parkway – a 42.6-mile section from the Wendell H. Ford Western Kentucky Parkway to KY 425, south of Henderson. The FHWA conditionally approved its inclusion in the Interstate Highway System in August on the basis of improvements undertaken by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to bring it up to acceptable interstate standards.
Work included reconstruction of two interchanges in the Governor’s native Hopkins County – at Mortons Gap and at the Pennyrile’s connection with the Western Kentucky Parkway and a 55-mile section already designated as I-69. Crews recently completed the latter interchange and opened it to traffic. The Mortons Gap interchange is under construction and scheduled for completion in 2017.
Other upgrades to the parkway included pavement rehabilitation, new lighting, ramp reconstruction, and widening and raising overpass bridges.
Completion of the entire I-69 corridor in western Kentucky still requires improvements to approximately 52 miles of the Purchase Parkway from Fulton to Calvert City, a 1-mile section of roadway connecting Fulton to Mayfield and a 5-mile section from Henderson to the Indiana state line. No construction timeline has been announced for those sections.