Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher, Transportation Cabinet Officials Break Ground on Perry County Projects

Press Release Date:  Thursday, March 29, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

H.B. Elkins

Governor also makes commitments to other highway safety and improvement investments

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher joined Kentucky Transportation Cabinet representatives and local officials in Perry County today to ceremonially break ground for a $34.8 million highway construction project.

The project involves relocating 2.57 miles of KY 7, beginning at the intersection of KY 7 and KY 15 at Jeff and extending south to Viper.

“When completed, this new highway will replace an old winding, narrow road,” Governor Fletcher said. “The new route will allow emergency responders to reach communities in the southernmost sections of Perry County much faster – communities such as Viper, Cornettsville and Leatherwood.  Furthermore, this investment will help make additional education, employment and health care opportunities available.”

“Residents of this area of Perry County have long sought this highway project,” said Rep. Brandon Smith (R-Hazard). “This is certainly a very welcome project and we thank Governor Fletcher and the Transportation Cabinet for moving it forward.”

“Those who live in the South Perry community and surrounding areas will enjoy tremendous benefits when this new road is completed,” said Sen. Daniel Mongiardo (D-Hazard). “It will improve the quality of life for those who travel this section of KY 7 every day, and I am pleased to have supported this project.”

The portion of KY 7 to be relocated carries an average of 5,800 vehicles per day, including a large number of coal trucks. Wedged between the mountainside and the North Fork of the Kentucky River, the road is prone to slippage and drop-offs. The new route will make travel much safer.

The KY 7 project also will improve access to a new elk viewing station that will greatly enhance tourism opportunities.

Bizzack Construction LLC was awarded the low-bid contract for the KY 7 project for $34,845,312.83. The project will take approximately two years to complete. Preliminary work is under way, and construction will begin in earnest next month.

Governor Fletcher also presented ceremonial checks for a bridge replacement and two guardrail installation projects for state highways in Perry County during the event.

Plans are progressing for a $3.6 million bridge replacement project on KY 451 over the North Fork of the Kentucky River in Hazard. The new Home Lumber Bridge, as it is known locally, will replace an outdated and substandard span.

“The new bridge will improve access from downtown Hazard to the Johnny Cox All-American Drive bypass and will complement a downtown revitalization project to accent the appearance of the downtown area and provide more parking for offices in the area,” Governor Fletcher said. “When completed, this will be a significant upgrade.”

This project is in the right-of-way acquisition phase and several parcels have been cleared for the beginning of construction. The project is expected to be let for bids later this year and to take six to eight months to complete.

Guardrail will be installed along 0.37 miles of KY 80, Hyden-Hazard Road near the Leslie County line, and 0.05 miles of KY 463, Delphia-Letcher County Line Road near Leatherwood.

“These guardrail installation projects will help provide a measure of safety for motorists who drive the mountainous roads so common in this part of Kentucky,” Governor Fletcher said.

George B. Stone Co. LLC, of Sharpsburg, was awarded the low-bid contract for the KY 80 guardrail project for $34,806. Big Sandy Guardrail Inc., of Pikeville, was awarded the low-bid contract for the KY 463 guardrail project for $8,631.05. Both projects should be completed by June 30.

“Governor Fletcher is committed to providing the best possible highways for drivers in Kentucky,” concluded Transportation Cabinet Secretary Bill Nighbert. “These projects are part of that goal. By improving local highway networks, we are helping to build stronger communities throughout our great state.”

More than $408,000 presented for water infrastructure upgrades, flood control

Governor Fletcher presented more than $408,000 in infrastructure funding to upgrade waterlines for two water systems and to complete funding for a flood control project that includes design and construction of a wastewater treatment plant in Chavies.

“For too long residents in eastern Kentucky and Perry County have gone underserved in the areas of water and sewer infrastructure,” said Governor Fletcher. “This funding will help us eliminate the use of straight pipes and costly septic systems. It will also help get safe, clean drinking water to the residents of Perry County.”

Governor Fletcher presented a ceremonial check to the Perry County Fiscal Court in the amount of $200,000 to replace an inadequate waterline along Route 476 and construct 3,000 feet of new line.

The Governor also presented a ceremonial check to the Mountain Water District in the amount of $136,000 to complete the second phase of a waterline construction project along portions of Routes 267, 476, 3351 in the Robinson, Rowdy and Pigeonroost areas.

The project will provide water lines for 400 new customers.

Governor Fletcher presented a ceremonial check to the Perry County Sanitation District for $72,500 to complete the design of a new wastewater treatment plant and a new wastewater collection system extension. The extension will serve 173 new customers and eliminate package sewer treatment plants at Chavies Elementary School and the Chavies After Hours Clinic.

Package plants are difficult and expensive to maintain. The new sewer will further enhance business opportunities in the area. Business development has been hampered by inadequate sewer treatment systems.

Governor Fletcher presents funding for Community Corrections Program

Governor Fletcher also presented Perry County with $82,000 for the Community Corrections Program, which provides community-based treatment that allows those convicted of crimes to remain in the community, employed and contributing to society while their sentences are monitored.  The Department of Corrections provides the funds.

“The Community Corrections Program is a vital asset as an alternative to incarceration.  This program provides funding so the courts can offer electronic monitoring, community service, home incarceration and other innovative programs to help reduce their population in the county jail,” said John Rees, commissioner of Department of Corrections.  “This type of a program offers those who have made mistakes a second chance for a successful life.”