By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
What happens next in the plans over building an extension to the Corbin Bypass (Ky. 3041) will be determined at a public information meeting this Thursday from 5-7 p.m. at Hunter Hills Elementary School, north of Corbin on U.S. 25.
At issue is a planning study which the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s District 11 office in Manchester says examines the need for the bypass extension.
It’s open to the public, which is invited to attend and offer their comments about the planning study. Transportation Cabinet representatives will be available to listen to comments from the public and to respond to them.
Jeff Sparks, one of the leaders of the group “STOP the Corbin Bypass Extension” said Thursday they’ll be at the meeting.
“Several people will be wearing our red shirts in opposition to the bypass extension project, and since we don’t have any more shirts to pass out, we’re encouraging people who are in agreement with us and against the bypass extension to wear red shirts at the meeting. Red is the color of a stop sign, and we want the proposed project stopped,” Sparks said.
Plans from the state Transportation Cabinet show the bypass extension starting at the junction of the current Corbin Bypass (Ky. 3041) and U.S. 25E in Corbin’s east end, taking it in a northerly direction through parts of Knox and Laurel counties, before it arcs back into a new exit near I-75 at mile marker 31.
Sparks says he is in favor of the planned project widening U.S. 25 from its intersection with U.S. 25E (Cumberland Gap Parkway) at the unincorporated north end of Corbin in Laurel County going north to the junction of Ky. 1006 at the south end of London, near the Levi Jackson State Park entrance. He was at last month’s public hearing on the Route 25 widening, saying there is no need for a bypass extension and spending more money if the U.S. 25 project is already in place.
“The planning study, or the feasibility study, is costing $500,000. Our goal is to let people know there’s no need for the bypass extension project, since the planned work on U.S. 25 from London to Malfunction Junction alleviates the need for the bypass extension. It would make the bypass extension ‘redundant.’ It’s a word a Transportation Department person used, and when you’re spending up to an estimated $250 million on the bypass extension project, it is redundant. Think about the relocating of people, purchasing of right-of-way, the different studies, the ecological studies, and it all adds up to taxpayers like myself and others,” he pointed out.
In June, state Transportation Cabinet officials held a public information hearing on the proposed bypass extension at Lynn Camp High School. At the time, Jonathan Dobson, public affairs officer for the Cabinet’s Manchester office, said the meeting was part of a study to determine if residents in the area were interested in extending the bypass and if the idea’s feasible and could be useful. He emphasized at the time there were no definite plans to extend the Corbin Bypass, also known as Ky. 3041.
Sparks said his group against building the extension have done their homework, and have worked with the state to keep in contact with each other.
“We’ve had good communications with the Transportation Department and we’ve been civil with them and we want to continue that way. But keep in mind that while some people say this project may be 10 years down the road, the time to express your opinion is now. There is strength in numbers, and I’ve heard the Transportation Department say they want people’s output. That’s why we’ll be there Thursday night,” he said.
By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
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