Governor Beshear wants to do more road projects with less money - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Governor Beshear wants to do more road projects with less money

Even with fewer federal and state dollars available, Governor Steve Beshear says Kentucky must continue to improve its road system.   The governor says more can be done with less by following a program he calls "Practical Solutions."

Governor Beshear believes Kentucky may be wasting millions or even billions each year by overbuilding new road projects.  He wants to look at every new project on the drawing board and ask whether there is there a simpler and cheaper way to carry out the improvement.

The governor says the answer to that question might mean two lanes with passing lanes instead of four.  Or it could mean smaller medians, narrower road widths, intersections instead of interchanges, and girders instead of fancier trusses on bridges.

Widening and modernizing Westport Road in Louisville is taking years to complete at a cost of $65 million.  Governor Beshear says his Transporation Cabinet will build fewer major projects like that.  He wants to give priority to upgrading narrow, two-lane roads with high rates of accidents and fatalities.

And he and his chief engineer believe most of those rural roads can be improved without turning them into superhighways.  Chief Highway Engineer Gilbert Newman says, "We're building four lanes of pavement plus the shoulders that go with that.  We'll have to maintain a whole lot of pavement out here that's never going to be used to its capacity within 20 years."

Newman urged transporation employees to buy into the new bare-bones philosophy.  He admits some engineers are resisting.

The governor claims Missouri has saved more than $400 million and cut fatalities in recent years by getting rid of "bells and whistles" and keeping road improvements as simple as possible.

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