New corridor could positively impact west region


PADUCAH, Ky. (KT) – Work is ramping up on a $37.6 million contract to greatly improve local and regional travel and commerce through the construction of a new, four-lane section of U.S. 641 in southern Calloway County.

When completed, there will be a new section of U.S. 641 covering 5.6 miles from Murray to Hazel and the Kentucky-Tennessee line, where the existing two-lane highway carries about 6,000 vehicles per day.  It will also wrap-up Kentucky’s section of a four-lane corridor from Interstate 69 at Benton, Kentucky, in the north to Paris, Tennessee, and Interstate 40 to the south.

“This is great news for Kentuckians in the region.  In terms of safety and efficiency, this long-awaited project will be a pronounced improvement for the citizens of Calloway County and the flow of commerce in the Jackson Purchase,” said Gov. Andy Beshear.

Jim Smith Contracting, of Grand Rivers, is the prime contractor for the project, which was jump-started in December 2018 with a $23 million federal BUILD grant awarded to the Calloway County Fiscal Court. (BUILD stands for Better Using Investments to Leverage Development.)

Calloway County Judge-Executive Kenny Imes said the new U.S. 641 corridor will have a big impact on Murray, Calloway County and the region.

“This project is the result of more than 30 years of effort and planning by our community,” Imes stated.  “It has involved hundreds of people over the years putting together some really big puzzle pieces.  Improvements to U.S. 641 South will create a safer roadway for our citizens while expanding economic development opportunities.”  

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 1 Chief Engineer Kyle Poat said the contractor plans to begin clearing trees and brush, and demolishing structures within the construction corridor around March 1, weather permitting. Construction signage on side roads will be the first indication that work is about to start. Most of the work during the 2021 construction season will be off-road, involving construction of culverts and bridges and other activities that will have no impact on traffic along existing U.S. 641.

The project is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2023.


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