Thursday, February 15, 2001

New road will help speedway, casino

Project will link I-71 and U.S. 42

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WARSAW — Kentucky's third-fastest growing county is getting a big boost for development from the state in the form of a new $35.8 million connector road linking I-71 and U.S. 42.

        Bisecting the largely rural Gallatin County, the road will provide a crucial link for Tristate motorists seeking to visit Belterra Resort and Casino in Vevay, Ind. and the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. It will also offer industrial traffic a safer route to travel through the region.

        Gov. Paul Patton held a press conference Wednesday at the Gallatin County Courthouse, where he and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary James Codell officially announced construction of the new road in two phases, the first to be completed next year and the second phase anticipated in 2003.

        “But this is a lot more than just economic benefit,” insisted Mr. Codell. “This is another way to connect Kentucky, to make it easier for residents and visitors to get from one point to another. It makes Gallatin County a better place and a safer place to live.”

        The state highway department also will construct a wide shoulder — in effect a third lane — along three miles of northbound I-71 north of the Ky. 35 interchange, the location of Kentucky Speedway. The $1.7 million project will be completed before this summer's opening race.

        The new I-71 interchange and connector road, just south of the speedway, will provide direct access from the interstate to U.S. 42 for the many large trucks that now travel two-lane U.S. 42 and Ky. 35 through Warsaw.

        It will give the speedway a second entrance and exit on I-71 to alleviate traffic congestion on the interstate.

        Mr. Codell said the interchange and the first portion of the new road, about one mile, will be open to traffic by May of next year and will be completed by September of 2002.


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