New connector road south of the Markland Dam is now open to traffic

20

After more than two years, the new connector road that links the Markland Dam with Interstate 71 is now open to traffic. Construction officials working on the road were expected to open the highway to traffic yesterday (Wednesday).

“If all things go well, we’re going to turn traffic on it on Wednesday,” Glen Mullins, construction manager for the Hi View Construction Company, said earlier this week.

The opening of the road comes about a week ahead of the Thanksgiving Day deadline that had been projected earlier in the summer. The road itself is 5.5-miles in length, but is expected to pay big dividends for motorists in Switzerland County and also for projected economic growth here.

The road now allows semi trucks straight access to the interstate system without having to wind along Highway 42, which runs along the Kentucky side of the Ohio River. Trucks from the steel mills across the river, as well as from Dow Corning and other industry, can now drive directly to the interstate, which will provide better access to Cincinnati, Louisville, and also to Interstate 75, which will move goods south through Lexington and north to Dayton and Detroit.

With all of the advantages that the road will provide to Kentucky industry, it is also one of the lynch pins for the development of the new Markland Business Park being created on the east side of the Markland Dam by the Switzerland County Economic Development Corporation.

The economic development group purchased a tract of land near the bridge for industrial and business development, and will use the new access to the highway as a selling point for potential businesses who will need to move their products out of the county easily.

Early this week, Glen Mullins and his crew were busy putting the finishing touches on the highway, making sure all of the signage was up, finishing some paving, striping the road, and installing some guard rails.

“We want everything to be ready once we turn traffic loose,” Glen Mullins said.

Heading south from the Markland Dam, motorists wanting to access Interstate 71 will drive along a four-lane highway as the road goes up a grade leaving the dam. The four lanes allow for semi truck traffic; and once at the top of the hill the road goes down to two lanes until it reaches the interstate, 5.5 miles later.

It is connected to Interstate 71 at Exit 55.

There are also some changes on how drivers will get on and off of the bridge if they are using Highway 42.

Those drivers who leave Switzerland County and come across the dam into Kentucky and want to take Highway 42 will exit the bridge on the west side – the ‘new’ exit that drivers have gotten used to since the work began.

For those driving down Highway 42 who want to access the bridge and come to Switzerland County, they will use the entrance ramp on the east side of the bridge – which is the ‘old’ ramp that was used prior to the beginning of construction.

The state of Kentucky broke ground on the project in June of 2004, and the new road will also provide more access from the north to the Kentucky Speedway. It had been hoped that the new connector road would be open in time for this summer’s racing series, but several problems delayed the opening until now.