Economic Development organizations, Chambers of Commerce, power companies and local elected officials along the Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Parkway corridor have banded together to support efforts to upgrade the existing parkway to an I-65 spur.
The Barren County Economic Authority, Glasgow-Barren Chamber of Commerce and Farmers Rural Electric Cooperative have all expressed their support for this project.
The first step is to acquire the necessary funds to conduct a study that would identify the operational and safety upgrades needed to comply with the minimum standards for entry into the federal highway system. The study is estimated to cost $500,000 and could take 9 to 12 months to complete.
“As the economic development organization for Barren County it is our mission to provide economic development resources in Barren County that attract new business and industry, retain and support existing business expansion and support infrastructure development that meets the needs of business and industry and advance the overall well-being of the community.” said Maureen Carpenter, Executive Director of the Barren County Economic Authority. “A key to meeting that mission is to have interstate accessibility. This is an issue that has been discussed here in Barren County for a number of years and we are excited about the potential growth that could come to our area by connecting interstate miles running North, South, East and West.”
While efforts continue to move forward on the upgrade initiative to an interstate spur, KY HB440 sponsored by Steve Riley, Jeff Hoover, Bart Rowland, Tommy Turner and Ken Upchurch was introduced on February 18th to rename the Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Parkway the Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Expressway. The bill includes that within 30 days of the effective date the following will be done: change all highway signs and markings, and make all changes on maps, websites, databases and official highway lists. KY HB440 passed the 3rd reading 95-0. If passed by the senate, new signs could be seen along the parkway as soon as this fall.
Representative Steve Riley said “I am glad to be able to be a part of this process and to help economic development in the Commonwealth with an I-65 spur” he also said “I believe the house is supportive but timing is uncertain with the impact of the COVID-19 virus impacting the legislative session.”
Changing the name from parkway, which can lead one to the impression of limited access, road with signals or roundabouts, to an expressway, faster traffic with controlled entrance and exit, in itself can open more doors to economic development opportunities.
We would like to thank the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, our elected officials, and Kentucky Touchstone Energy Electric Cooperatives who have partnered with funding to develop a feasibility study and all who are working to enhance the economy of this region with new economic development, tourism improvements and substantially increased and safer traffic flows.