Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has awarded more than $1 billion in construction project contracts since January 2020, a sign, he said, that the state’s economy is surging.
KYTC has also allocated more than $125 million in discretionary, emergency aid, and rural-secondary funding to help build, repair, and maintain streets, sidewalks, and roads in local and rural communities across the state.
“Our transportation system, with thousands of bridges and thousands of miles of roadway, connects our communities, carries the lifeblood of our commerce, and supports thousands of jobs,” Gov. Beshear said. “Even in the face of a pandemic, we simply could not allow a lapse in the construction, maintenance, and continuous improvement of this critically vital system. Now our economy is bouncing back, and transportation is a big part of that.”
The awards include $34.1 million to construct the last section of the Kentucky Highway 680 connector highway, awarded to Bizzack Construction Co. of Lexington. The new highway will provide a time-saving link between Kentucky Highway 80 at Minnie and U.S. Highway 23 at Harold, Ky – two of the most heavily traveled routes in the eastern part of the state.
Engineers estimate that the new highway will cut driving time between Pikeville and Hazard by 45 minutes, as well as open up a section of Floyd County to potential development.
“The pandemic, especially in its early months, had a devastating effect on the Kentucky Road Fund, from which we pay for our highway program,” KYTC Secretary Jim Gray said. “But now our transportation program is gaining strength and momentum, as is our overall economy.”
In March, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup ranked Kentucky third nationally and at the top of the South Central Region in qualifying projects per capita. The commonwealth also placed seventh overall in total projects, the highest of any state with a population under 5 million.