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Case Study - Kentucky

Addressing Induced Development: I-65 to US31 West Connector Highway in Warren County

Description of Undertaking

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), with federal funds provided by FHWA, proposes to construct a new four-lane highway connector between Interstate 65 (I-65) and US 31 W in south-central Kentucky.  The new highway will pass directly between Phase I and Phase II, and provide access to, the Kentucky Transpark, a large and controversial industrial park currently under development five miles northeast of Bowling Green. Construction began on Phase I of the Transpark in 2003 without any federal oversight. FHWA became involved when Congress earmarked funding for construction of the connector road.  

Affected Historic Properties

Archaeology  FHWA has determined that the Project may directly affect archaeological properties not yet identified within the proposed right-of-way. The area of potential effect for the project is within the karst environment of the Pennyroyal Sinkhole Plain and the adjacent Dripping Springs Escarpment, a unique resource that contains nationally significant archaeological sites, many of which contain petroglyphs and human remains. Although no sink holes or archaeological properties were identified within the proposed right-of-way for the new highway, archaeologists were denied access to several parcels along the construction corridor, and no archaeological inventory has yet been completed in the adjacent Transpark development. FHWA and KYTC acknowledge that the connector road will provide needed access for Phase II of the Transpark, so additional archaeological investigations will also be completed in parcels to be developed as part of Phase II.

Buildings & Cemetery Two National Register-listed buildings will be affected by the undertaking due to induced development: the Andrew James Wardlaw III House, and the Garnett Bryant House/Glenn Place. In addition, the Mizpah Cemetery, a National Register-eligible property, is located adjacent to the proposed Phase II Transpark development, as indicated in the Transpark’s Master Plan. The Intermodal Transportation Authority, Inc. (ITA) has agreed to protection in place for all three of these properties.

Analysis of Consultation and Agreement

Local community advocates, historic preservation organizations, and caving advocates have actively opposed the large industrial development known as the Kentucky Transpark since construction began in 2003. Concerns center around the impact of the Transpark on the rural landscape, the potential for disturbing archaeological sites and human burials located in underground caves, and whether the Kentucky Division of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has adequately addressed the indirect and cumulative effects of this development on historic properties.

The proposed new highway project is located in Warren County, Kentucky, in an area northeast of Bowling Green that is experiencing rapid growth. The FHWA considers that only Phase II of the Transpark project is within the Area of Potential Effects (APE) for this highway project because construction has already proceeded on development of Phase I, and Phase I will continue to be developed with or without the connector road. The development of Phase II of the Transpark has been determined to be an indirect effect of the highway project.

Consulting parties in the Section 106 process included the Sierra Club, City of Oakland, National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC), Karst Environmental Education and Protection Inc., the Intermodal Transportation Authority (ITA), the Kentucky State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and the ACHP. FHWA, in consultation with these parties, identified the potential effects to archaeological sites and buildings within the proposed location of Phase II development, but initially balked at addressing these indirect effects in an MOA. The agencies felt that their lack of jurisdiction over the proposed development did not allow them to mitigate for adverse effects caused by construction in the Transpark. The ACHP encouraged FHWA and KYTC to work with the Transpark authority (ITA) to identify ways to address the effects of Phase II development on historic properties. The resulting agreement, incorporated into the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), addresses the indirect effects on the two historic buildings and one historic cemetery located in the area proposed for Phase II of the Transpark. FHWA and the ITA have also committed to conducting additional archaeological investigations to determine if underground archaeological sites that are scattered throughout the karst topography of the region might be affected by construction. FHWA will bear responsibility for the costs of mitigation in the highway right-of-way, and ITA will bear the costs of archaeological survey and mitigation for archaeological properties that may be affected by construction in the Phase II development. The resulting MOA, executed on May 1, 2009, is an excellent example of cooperation between transportation agencies and local government to address the indirect and cumulative effects of induced development on historic properties. 

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Updated May 29, 2009

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