Six lanes of I-65 in Kentucky closer to reality - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Six lanes of I-65 in Kentucky closer to reality

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Two lane section of I-65 in Kentucky south of Elizabethtown. Two lane section of I-65 in Kentucky south of Elizabethtown.

MUNFORDVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The state has awarded a $138-million dollar contract to rebuild part of I-65 just south of Louisville as part of a plan to help relieve congestion and improve safety.

Gov. Beshear says the new construction marks the home stretch of a long drive toward making I-65 six lanes through Kentucky from Indiana to the Tennessee line.

Dewayne Eckhoff has been driving trucks for 17 years, much of it on I 65. He says the toughest part is watching out for the other guy.

"You have to constantly be aware of what's 15-20 feet in front of you, 8 feet on both sides, and 12 feet behind you," he said. However, there is some relief on the way for all drivers on I-65. 

The state has just issued a contract to widen a 17-mile stretch between Sonora and Munfordville.

"It's going to ease traffic as far as travel, you're going to have plenty of room for everybody," said Eckhoff.

When the expansion connects with work being finished right now, Munfordville will have three lanes of interstate going north and three lanes south, relieving what has been a dangerous traffic bottleneck

"This truck traffic and car traffic was bottling down and bottlenecking, and we're having a lot of accidents," said Hart Co. Judge Executive Terry Martin.

Four years ago, 11 people died in a crash near that area when a distracted truck driver crossed lanes.

"Three lanes will give a lot smoother flow of traffic and, hopefully, save lives," said Martin.

Safety may not be the only benefit as Munfordville depends on tourism and more lanes could mean more cars.

The manager of a Pizza Hut restaurant near I-65, who also happens to be the mayor, hopes the improvements will feed more tourist dollars.

John Johnson admits to mixed emotions on that.

"When you get six lanes, traffic could move on past us. I don't really know. Or it may be easier for them to get off here. So, that's yet to be seen," he said.

This latest project means a 10-mile section south of Elizabethtown will remain the only 4-lane section of I-65 in the state.

Construction should hit the finish line by May of 2017.

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