Do Jessamine and Madison Counties need an I-75 connector between them? Some say no.
Linda Mihalec is in love with where she lives in Madison County.
“I live off Tates Creek Road near the Kentucky River and I run, cycle and hike quite a bit there. It’s such a beautiful area.”
Directly across the river, Liz Hobson feels the same way about her little corner of paradise in far eastern Fayette County.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has identified a corridor – a roughly 13-mile-long, two-mile-wide swath of land between the two points – as a study area to determine the most effective route for the road within the corridor, should it be built.
There are a number of historic and environmental features within the corridor, such as remote Marble Creek and the Palisades on the Kentucky River, that have the potential to be affected, though a specific route has not been determined.
The Kentucky River Palisades are a series of steep, scenic gorges and limestone outcroppings stretching 100 miles along the river. Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation listed this landscape feature and other historic resources included in the I-75 Connector project’s corridor on its 2013 list of endangered historic properties in central Kentucky.
Some community leaders believe the region needs quicker access to the interstate to speed up commerce and boost economic development. It’s an idea that’s appeared and disappeared for nearly 20 years. Now the debate is on again.
Officially, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) takes a neutral approach on whether the road should or should not be constructed, but Robert Nunley, a branch manger of project development with the cabinet, says that mitigating the potential route’s affect on environmental resources is a priority during the preliminary design phase.
“From an environmental aspect, we take it all very seriously and we will deal with any environmental impacts that we may have,” Nunley said.
Nunley says currently the cabinet is working on identifying smaller corridors within the larger corridor, which would undergo greater scrutiny to determine which would have the least affect on the corridor as a whole. He said they hope to identify four smaller corridors which would then be presented to the public for comment.
The transportation cabinet also created a citizens advisory committee, set up a website explaining the proposed connector and asks people for input.