Funding secured for 16th Street underpass project

Lori Allen/The News Students cross 16th Street to get to class.
Lori Allen/The News Students cross 16th Street to get to class.

Lori Allen/The News
Students cross 16th Street to get to class.

Due to the signing of House Joint Resolution 62 Friday, along with recent passing of Kentucky House Bill 237, Murray State has secured the funding for and is now one step closer to completing an extensive overhaul and renovation of 16th Street.

House Bill 237 and House Joint Resolution 62 comprise Kentucky’s six-year road plan which will award more than $5.2 billion to road projects across the Commonwealth.

From House Bill 237, $9.3 million has been awarded to Calloway County for the purpose of constructing an elevated roadway/pedestrian underpass combination on 16th Street, which would allow students to cross the busy street more safely.

The University, along with the city and the Department of Highway Safety, began to investigate ways to improve safety last fall and collected data on how many students cross and how many cars use the stretch of road which passes through campus.

According to the study recently completed by Bacon Farmer Workman Engineering & Testing, Inc., more than 11,000 vehicles use this strip of road a day, and there are approximately 6,000 crossings made by pedestrians.

Shortly after this data was collected, the University hired Bacon Farmer Workman Engineering & Testing, Inc. to formulate several plans for a re-envisioned 16th Street.

Ultimately, Murray State selected the overpass/underpass combination from a list of three plans based on its impact on existing and planned development, its impact on mobility, the environment and safety, as well as how easy the plan would be to implement.

Of the funds now allocated to the project, an initial $800,000 will be awarded at the beginning of fiscal year 2015 which will be used in a lengthy design phase that will also include the selection of an engineer and several public hearings.

The money from House Bill 237 will fund the initial years of the plan while House Joint Resolution 62 will cover any remaining deficit over the course of four years.

Kim Oatman, director of Facilities Management, was not available for comment on how long the project will take, its estimated total cost or when construction may begin.

 

Staff Report