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News Item #180
I-71 Project Faces Environmental Critics
Posted: 24-Mar-2002 2:56PM CST

Environmental concerns may delay work on widening I-71 and I-64 in Eastern Louisville. The Federal Highway Administration is requiring Kentucky officials to conduct a full environmental assessment with a plan to widen Interstate 71. Local environmentalists suggest that widening the road will adversely affect the area and suggest the construction of a light rail system or having employers change work hours. Others suggest that a light rail system is too expensive and that commuters will continue to drive.

I-71 is currently scheduled to be widened beginning in 2007, and the I-64 widening project is more than a decade into the future. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet plans to widen I-71 to six lanes from I-64 to the Gene Snyder Freeway. The current four lane highway is near its design capacity. The FHWA originally approved the plan, but is now concerned that six lanes may not be sufficient to handle projected 20-year traffic.

Congestion on interstates is measured using a grade system with A being the least congested and E being the most congested. Part of I-71 is graded D.

The 10-mile project is estimated to cost $40 million.

More information: WAVE3: Commuters Want Interstates Widened, Environmentalists Say No [Outside Link], Courier-Journal: Aldermen back study of alternatives to I-71 project [Outside Link], Messenger-Inquirer: Environmental worries may delay or derail I-71 project [Outside Link] (no longer online), Cincinnati Enquirer: I-71 project near Louisville may face delay [Outside Link], Courier-Journal: Widening of I-71 faces delay; study, alternatives requested [Outside Link]

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Updated: 24-Mar-2002 2:56PM CST

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