Bridge Hill project on Highway 22 progressing

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By Kenny Colston

An important stretch of Highway 22 in Crestwood will still be expanded and rerouted, despite slow progress.

Nicknamed the Bridge Hill project, the changes will take place from just west of the Highway 329 Bypass to just past Abbott Lane, according to Andrea Clifford, spokeswoman for Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 5.

Highway 22 will be widened at this section as part of the process and a new bridge will be built over Curry’s Fork Creek, Clifford said. The existing Highway 22, which winds just over the creek and is the cause of many accidents, will no longer be used. according to the plans.

The proposal includes two 11-foot lanes, with a 13-foot left turn lane and 8-foot shoulders. The new bridge over the creek will be north of the current road, Clifford said, and will be large enough to eventually hold four lanes of traffic. It will initially be stripped for two lanes, Clifford said.

The project is part of a larger project to widen Highway 22 between Highway 329 and Highway 393, Clifford said, but initial funding for the project was only allocated for the Bridge Hill portion. That plan was first started in 2009, she said.

Clifford said the cabinet is currently in the right of way acquisition phrase, with a total of 36 parcels that will be affected by the widening of the road and its move north. She said that part of the project would be finished soon, with bid advertising starting in October and construction starting in 2015.

“These dates could change based on the progress of right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation,” she said.

The property most affected by the changes is Waldeck Farm, a 1,450-acre property on both sides of Highway 22.

Albert Harrison, a spokesman for the owners of the property, said Waldeck is not holding up the right-of-way phase of the project.

“People saw (owner) David (Gleason) as a big obstructionist when they tried to put the bypass through his farm,” Harrison said. “After that, the community seems to think anytime something on 22 is delayed, it’s Waldeck’s fault. And that’s not the case.”

Harrison said Waldeck hasn’t signed any documents with the state yet, but practically has an agreement in place that isn’t holding up the state from progressing.

Harrison said he and Gleason have been involved in discussions about the project, including whether there’s a need for Highway 22 to be five lanes in this particular stretch of the road as well as the bridge construction.

“This is not an urban area and we don’t think it ever will be,” he said. “David has worked with KYTC on 22 improvements since day one. We’ve not held up anything. And we haven’t said we aren’t going to do this or that.”

Harrison said the only sticking point with Waldeck is its trademark stone entrance, which the changes could endanger. The project will significantly raise the grade of the current road and could obstruct the stone walls built more than a century ago.

But Harrison said there appears to be a plan to allow Waldeck to re-grade at its entrance to raise the stone walls and keep them intact at its entrance off Highway 22. Harrison said Gleason hasn’t signed a contract with the state yet to assure the entrance is taken care of. But the delay in a contract isn’t delaying the project on their end, Harrison said.

“We’re in no way attempting to delay, we just don’t want to lose the entrance,” Harrison said. “The other terms are acceptable on the right of way and damages.

“We don’t anticipate any other problems.”

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