FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet issued an update Wednesday on the planned Northern Kentucky Outer Loop project.
Four potential alternatives to enhance economic opportunity, improve safety and support changing traffic needs throughout Northern Kentucky have been released and will undergo further study. These revised alternatives follow the evaluation of six alternatives that were released to the public for review in December 2018.
The Northern Kentucky Outer Loop Study is examining potential alternatives for new transportation connections in the southern portions of Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties, as well as the northern portions of Gallatin, Owen, Grant, Pendleton and Bracken counties, specifically potential east-west alternatives that connect Interstate-71 and the AA Highway (KY 9).
At this point, no decisions regarding specific roadway alignments have been made and local input will help to shape next steps.
“Since we launched this study last year, the public has played a critical role in the KYTC study process by reviewing our early information on potential roadway concepts and providing us with feedback,” said Bob Yeager, Chief District Engineer for KYTC, District 6. “Our team has taken that information, applied best practice industry standards for evaluating roadway alternatives and we are now ready to present a refined set of roadway corridors to the public for review.”
Yeager said the revised alternatives are broad 2,000-feet wide corridors; they are not exact roadway alignments with defined locations or specific impacts.
The project is still in the planning phase, the first of six steps until completion. That is followed by preliminary engineering and an environmental evaluation, design, right of way and utility coordination, before construction begins.
The project goals are to provide economic development opportunities; enhance regional mobility; improve safety; provide a cost-effective, constructible transportation solution; provide the Kentucky portion of a future Cincinnati Eastern Bypass; and remain sensitive to local resources.
The Transportation Cabinet says northern Kentucky is one of the fastest-growing regions in the state. Significant commercial and residential development is occurring in Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties. The region has excellent interstate access through I-71, I-75, I-275 and I-471. Major north-south routes such as US 27, US 127 and the AA Highway (KY 9) are also present.
Missing, though, is adequate east-west access south of I-275. This hampers future economic growth outside of the three northernmost counties. Access from the AA Highway to I-71 and I-75 is essential to this growth.