Friday, January 22, 2016

US 641 searching for best pathway

Tuesday's meeting in Marion involved a number of
leaders from three counties and PADD officials 
The lack of a definitive route around Fredonia has been a major stumbling block in the effort to complete the new U.S. 641 highway between Marion and Interstate 24.

Work on the project – conceived 26 years ago under then-Gov. Wallace Wilkerson, moved ahead by Gov. Paul Patton and christened with a formal groundbreaking ceremony four years ago under then-Gov. Steve Beshear – has been effectively scuttled the last couple of years due to ongoing debate and the lack of a resolution with regard to how to get around Fredonia. There has been both support and opposition to a variety of proposed routes, and what exists now is a political stalemate. Factions of interested parties from every side have been trying to untie the knot that has had construction in limbo since crews effectively moth-balled the project and left the Phase 1 area of Crittenden County in 2014.

A group of leaders and interested individuals from three counties met last week in Frankfort with state legislators and other bureaucratic chiefs, then sat down again Tuesday in Marion at the Ed-Tech Center.

Millions of dollars have already been spent and millions more have been proposed, but those numbers are meaningless until leaders from the communities through which the road will transverse can agree on one thing – where to put the middle section of the road.

Lyon and Crittenden counties are on the same page, but there is still question as to what route Caldwell County leaders will support. After Tuesday’s discussions, there appear to be two routes that are chiefly preferred. Both run east of Fredonia. One is farther from town and goes in a straighter line toward Lyon County. The other is closer to Fredonia yet has two sweeping curves. 

For more on this issue, see the Jan. 21, 2016 issue of The Crittenden Press, or subscribe here to the full version of the newspaper in PDF forma.