Henderson officials hope a massive upgrade to Wathen Lane can begin by March.
The project, which officially started in July 2019, is funded by the Federal Highway Administration with money coming to the city via the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, according to city documents.
The construction phase, the project’s current standing, calls for building a $6.854 million upgrade along the street from where it meets U.S. 60 to just beyond the Braxton Park subdivision.
Previously the project had moved through design, right-of-way and utility phases.
At the Nov. 28 Henderson Board of Commissioners regular meeting, the commissioners approved a resolution approving the construction phase and accepting the federal funds to complete it.
The city will provide a 20 percent match to complete the project, according to City Manager William “Buzzy” Newman, Jr.
According to city documents, the federal funds will total $5.483 million while the city’s share will be $1.37 million.
The project will make big changes, which include widening the street from 20 to 24 feet, constructing a 10-foot-wide walking trail that allows for connectivity to nearby neighborhoods, building curbs, gutters, and gas and water line capabilities, as well as ensuring proper drainage, Newman said.
He compared the project to what occurred on Green River Road several years ago.
Newman said the next step is for the city to put out bids for the project, which is expected to occur this week. He said proposals that come back to the city would need to be close to the approved budget for the project to continue.
The bids will be opened three weeks after the request goes out, Newman said. He also said bids will be sent to the state transportation cabinet for concurrent approval.
After the state transportation cabinet approves a bid, the Henderson Board of Commissioners will then need to approve it, which could occur in late January, Newman said.
If all that stays on schedule, construction could occur in March, he said.
Though the project got started with design work in summer 2019, Newman said repairing the road has been on the city’s radar for eight years.
“It’s taken that long to get to this point,” he said.
Wathen Lane between Stratman Road and the Braxton Park subdivision is a county road. From Braxton Park to U.S. 60 is a city road.
Newman said city officials were aware that the city’s piece of the road was falling into disrepair, but knowing that the plans were in the works for wholesale improvements, the city chose to spot-patch the potholes until the reconstruction could begin.
In other news, the city commission:
- Approved a resolution that authorizes the submission of a grant application to the state transportation cabinet for its Creating Vibrant Communities program. Newman said the $100,000 grant, if awarded, would allow the city to plan for projects along the I-69 corridor.
“Through the program, a community will create a plan that will outline the vision, conceptual development plan, and actionable next steps necessary to create a transformation and unique destination for a community and should serve as a roadmap to actively attract and convey the community’s vision to potential development partners,” said Newman in a city commission memo on Nov. 21.
- Approved an $80,000 contract to Sports Facilities Management, LLC, a company that oversees the preparations of sports parks as they work towards opening. The company will “guide us from here to opening day” of the new athletic complex, said Mayor Brad Staton.
- Approved an amendment to an ordinance that would have closed four city parks from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. The commissioners were to hear and vote on a second reading of the measure, but Commissioner Robert Pruit balked at the 10 p.m. close time. He proposed at 11 p.m. close time, and the commission approved that amendment to the ordinance. The commissioners then heard first reading on the ordinance with the amended close time of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Those caught in the park during closed time will first be asked to leave, said Henderson Police Department Deputy Chief Robert Shoultz. If the person refuses to leave, police will issue a citation for trespassing, which is a misdemeanor, Shoultz said.
The four parks where the night closure is in effect are Community Park, Anthony Brooks Park, East End Park and Kimmel Park.