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KYTC announces I-71 will be widened from Gene Snyder to Crestwood by 2023

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By Amanda Manning

 Transportation officials announced the state’s largest transportation project since the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges project April 26.

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The four-year $180 million project, called I-Move Kentucky, combines four road projects in Oldham and Jefferson counties.

Interstate 71 will now be widened to six lanes between Interstate 265 and Crestwood sooner than expected.  

“By combining these important transportation projects into one, I-Move will accelerate construction timeline by several years and that’s a big deal,” Kentucky Highway Engineer Andy Barber said.

The widening was originally scheduled to begin in 2026, but will now be completed by November 2023, according to transportation officials. 

“Widening 71 from four to six lanes is critical because look at the interstates that feed into Louisville, they’ve all been widened,” Senator Ernie Harris, who represents Oldham County and a portion of Jefferson County, said. “Now it’s our turn to be widened.”

The project also includes widening I-265 to six lanes between Taylorsville Road and Interstate 71. 

The interchanges at Interstate 71 and Interstate 265 and Interstate 64 and Interstate 265 will also be remodeled as part of the project.

Chief District Engineer Matt Bullock said these areas have “experienced a significant amount of residential and commercial growth.”

All four projects were identified as priorities in the SHIFT program.

“I-Move Kentucky will improve safety and mobility on three major interstates that join together in eastern Jefferson County and will allow travelers and freight to move freely through the region,” KYTC Secretary Greg Thomas said.

The transportation cabinet said it would use a design-build approach to more quickly complete the projects.

“Design build is an effective contracting approach to deliver projects faster and often at lower cost than traditional design-bid-build projects,” KYTC said in a press release.

Work is scheduled begin on the project in fall 2019. The widening of Interstate 71 will take place in the median. 

Barber said the project will "fuel economic development and quality of life in the greater Louisville region and throughout the commonwealth."

On Monday April 29, Oldham County legislators who said they worked to secure the $180 million applauded the project.

“Investing in improvements to our major interstate highway systems is critical to improving public safety and boosting economic growth, and that is exactly what the completion of this comprehensive project will do,” House Speaker David Osborne stated. “This announcement is the result of our majority members of the House and Senate working hard to deliver sound results for their constituents.”

Rep. Jason Nemes also discussed Oldham and Louisville's population growth.

“I ran for office in part to bring more resources to the Louisville and Oldham area to foster economic growth and to better handle the growth in population that our area has enjoyed,” Nemes said. “This plan will improve our communities, which will benefit the entire Commonwealth.”

The widening of Interstate 71 remains a hot topic in Oldham County and several officials have asked for the project to be moved up on the list of statewide road projects.

“It really needs to go eventually from La Grange all the way to downtown. We’ve got money in the current two-year road for the (Gene) Snyder to La Grange at some phase," Harris said. 

“It’s moving in my view, as fast as it possibly can," he added.  “It’s going to be multi-year and tens of millions of dollars, but we’ve got it moving. All we can do is keep funding it so it continues.”

To learn more, visit i-moveky.com.

This story has been updated.