WUKY In Depth
9:01 am
Mon August 20, 2012

Mondays With The Mayors - Russ Meyer, Nicholasville On I-75 Connector Project

LEXINGTON, Ky. - In this week's edition of Mondays With The Mayors we talk with Nicholasville Mayor, Russ Meyer about the I-75 Connector Project between Jessamine and Madison counties that's been on the drawing board for more than two decades.  The proposal will be the subject of public meetings this week in Nicholasville and Richmond.

Q:  What's your take on how this process is going?

It's a big project that has a huge impact on our region; especially both our cities.

Q:  Is traffic getting that much worse or is this more of a matter of "we've got to be thinking ahead"?

Partly, but one thing that we've seen is that the traffic on U-S 27 just continues to get worse, at times is downright paralytic.  It's almost an unusable road at times in the same way for Man O War in Lexington is at times.  So it will address that traffic headache for Nicholasville and Lexington, but the main thing it will do is it will bring commerce to our area, and bring more jobs to our area.

Q:  There is some vocal opposition to this project, they're called the dis-connectors.  They don't want to see this project completed on environmental grounds.  What do you say to them?

Their concerns are very important and I feel like that when you are only hearing all of the good sometimes you are not looking enough at the impact of others.  And you have to look at how a big project like this is going to impact everyone.

Q:  Since the 1980's this concept has been discussed but as you bring up, it is now in the design phase.  Are you pleased with that rate of progress?

Well, we've been meeting on it for, what...five plus years?...The first portion of funding (2005) $500,000 came from Washington, D.C. to do a study on this.

Q:  What other comments are you getting from your constituents about this project?

It's been all positive...all positive.  I think people are looking forward to it...and they understand fully that this may have to be a toll road, too.

Q:  Now, we are talking about a project, that even if all things go according to plan, wouldn't even begin until 2020 at the earliest?

Right.  The actual road itself is a long way off.  We really can't put a date on when something like this will be built because it does entail a bridge and you've got two other bridge projects, in Louisville and Northern Kentucky that will undoubtedly come first. 

The public meetings for the I-75 Connector project take place Tuesday night from 6 to 8 at East Jessamine Middle School in Nicholasville, and on Thursday evening from 6 to 8 at B. Michael Caudill Middle School in Richmond.

Mondays With The Mayors airs exclusively on WUKY during NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.