FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – More than $2 million in awards for school safety and transportation infrastructure investments in Southeastern Kentucky were announced Thursday in Whitley and Pulaski counties.
“We must seize this crucial moment to create a better commonwealth with more opportunities for our people in every corner of Kentucky,” said Gov. Andy Beshear during stops in the communities. “Thank you to the people of Southeastern Kentucky for your resilience during this difficult year. This region is key to helping our state lead in the post-COVID economy.”
Whitley County School Safety
In Whitley County, Beshear awarded $750,000 for design and construction of a roundabout at Corbin Primary School, which Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) engineers believe will dramatically reduce the number of crashes at a longtime problem spot – the intersection of Kentucky Route 727, Black Diamond Road and Barton Cutoff Road.
More than 20 crashes were recorded from 2012 to 2018 in the direct vicinity of this intersection, where a curve restricts drivers’ vision.
A roundabout will improve the geometry of the intersection, cause a reduction in vehicle speed and at the same time will improve access to Corbin Primary School.
“I appreciate the work of the administration in dealing with these road construction projects and moving them forward in the city of Corbin,” said Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers, who represents Corbin.
“We look forward to this vital funding to improve safety and access for our students and community as a whole,” said Corbin Mayor Suzie Razmus. “These projects have been much needed.”
“This is something that we have hoped for and needed for quite some time,” said David Cox, Corbin Independent Schools Superintendent. “The project will make travel to and from our school much safer and provide a better experience for our busses and parents. We appreciate the state for keeping a promise that helps many people in and around or Primary School.”
City of Corbin Sidewalk Project
Gov. Beshear presented a $290,000 check to the City of Corbin for a project to build a new sidewalk on Master Street.
“I would like to thank Gov. Beshear for his leadership and dedication to Eastern Kentucky. His commitment to investing in our needs will help our area move forward,” said Rep. Tom Smith, who represents parts of Corbin.
When completed, the city will have more than a half-mile of sidewalk that has been desperately needed on a busy major highway that connects Corbin Middle School, retail shopping, mixed housing, a senior citizen living facility, grocery, banking, medical offices, pharmacies and other services.
Pedestrian traffic in the area includes several residents who utilize walking aid devices, as well as motorized wheelchairs. The sidewalk will provide a safer route for them to navigate. The project area will go from Standard Avenue to Commonwealth Avenue, near Trademark Shopping Center.
Firestone Industrial Products to Expand Whitley County Facility, Create 250 Jobs
While in Whitley County, the governor highlighted that Firestone Industrial Products Co. LLC leaders plan to create 250 full-time jobs in Williamsburg with a $50 million expansion of the company’s automotive air springs manufacturing plant, a project that will benefit residents in Eastern and Southeastern Kentucky and help reinvigorate the state’s economy. To learn more, see the full release.
“After years of working on this project, I am happy to see it come to fruition with the expansion of jobs that will significantly benefit Whitley County,” said President Stivers.
Pulaski County School Safety
In Pulaski County, more than a million dollars from KYTC – $1,010,000 in all – was awarded for projects to improve traffic safety at and around three Pulaski County school campuses.
The funding includes $225,000 for KYTC to design a connector road between Northern Middle School and Pulaski County High School and new left-turn lanes at Pulaski County High and Southwestern High School. The remainder, $785,000, is for construction of the turn lanes in 2022.
The campus connector road between Northern Middle School and Pulaski County High School will help reduce congestion on Kentucky Route 39 and Kentucky Route 1575, the main access routes into each campus.
The new connector, which has been a priority of the Pulaski County Board of Education, will also improve safety and mobility for buses and meet other school transportation needs between each campus. Design for the connector is expected to be completed this year.
Meanwhile, construction of a dedicated left turn from Kentucky 1577 onto WTLO Road, a primary route for Southwestern High School traffic, will help reduce congestion and improve safety.
A similar project – construction of a left turn from KY 1575 onto Pulaski County High School – will improve the flow of through-traffic on the highway and reduce congestion during morning and afternoon start and dismissal times at the high school. Design of both left-turn projects will be completed this year, with construction in 2022.
“These projects will increase safety and accessibility for our students and school staff, as well as residents who live nearby. These will be welcome improvements to our community,” said Rep. Shane Baker, who represents parts of Laurel and Pulaski counties.
“We are very thankful for the transportation safety funding we will be receiving, our community will benefit greatly, allowing for better traffic control in and around our school campuses,” said Patrick Richardson, Pulaski County Schools Superintendent.