Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Local News

July 21, 2011

Veterans Outer Loop sections near completion

GLASGOW — Glasgow is getting closer to the long-awaited completion of the Veterans Outer Loop, with the opening of the third and fourth sections of the loop set for mid-August.

The two sections are only waiting on final surfacing, shoulder work, seeding in the siding areas and striping and signage for the finishing touches, according to Keirsten Jaggers, public information officer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Weather has delayed opening the sections almost a month from their original opening date.

“Just about every project, every major construction project in our district has been pushed back, some up to a month, because of all the rain in the spring,” Jaggers said.

For many Glasgow and Barren County leaders, the completion of this road is something they have been looking forward to for years.

“This is very good news for the well-being of the community,” said Ernie Meyers, executive vice-president of the Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce. “Any time you can make infrastructure meet the needs of traffic and transportation in the area, it’s a good thing.”

The Veterans Outer Loop project was first set into motion about 10 years ago with the influence of then-mayor Charlie Honeycutt, and it has been an uphill battle since. The opening of the latest two sections next month will leave only one more section left to be built. The completed loop will give Glasgow two more exits on the Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Parkway, creating prime locations for industry to develop, and providing an alternate route that will alleviate some major traffic through Glasgow.

The loop will stretch from the parkway at Ky. 1297 on the west side of Glasgow, around town to the parkway past U.S. 68/Ky. 80 on the east side. Tractor-trailers traveling to the industrial parks or the hospital will be able to bypass the center of town, and to Barren County Judge-Executive Davie Greer, that easing of traffic flow will be a great benefit to the area.

“It will save a lot of traffic coming directly through town from east to west ... It’s a great thing” Greer said.

Along with alleviating traffic congestion, Greer and others optimistically expect the completion of the outer loop will lead to more economic development in Barren County.

“Ease of access” is one of the first things businesses look for when considering whether to build in a new area, according to Pat Gaunce, a member of the Glasgow-Barren County Industrial Development Economic Authority.

“In today’s world, everybody’s looking for easy access ... I think if we could get the outer loop finished to the Cumberland Parkway, we would have a better chance at attracting new

businesses,” Gaunce said.

Having four lanes on the loop is a big draw, Greer said, and she is hopeful that pulling in one new business to the loop will lead to more and more.

“When you open one thing, another comes along,” Greer said. “At least that’s what we’re hoping.”

But in order to pull in those new businesses, it’s still very important to finish the final section of the outer loop, Gaunce said. Now that the third and fourth sections are almost complete, many are already focused on how soon the rest of it can be finished.

“I think we need the last section,” Gaunce said. “I think we need to finish it to the Cumberland Parkway. I think that’s important for the people of Glasgow and Barren County.”

Mayor Rhonda Trautman also emphasized the importance of finishing the final section of the Veterans Outer Loop, which is waiting on sufficient funding.

“Completion of the outer loop is a major priority for the city,” Trautman said. “Given the final phase of the Outer Loop dissects one of the industrial areas of town, the improved access to the Cumberland Parkway and I-65 will be a significant benefit to the existing manufacturing and industry as well as a big asset when recruiting new industry to the area.  Obtaining funding for this final phase is very important to our community.”

Without state funding, it is still unknown how soon the fifth section of the loop will be completed, but local government and economic development officials continue to look forward to the day it is completely finished.

“When we get all of the loop done, it’ll be wonderful,” Greer said.

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