Possible bridge concerns seven subdivisions

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Residents concerned over Salt River site

By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE – It was a full house on a recent Saturday morning as members of the community, as well as some elected officials, listened to concerns about some transportation possibilities that might affect seven residential subdivisions.

The Concerned Families of Bullitt County hosted the meeting at Paroquet Springs Conference Centre to pass along some information they had received and to ask for participation from the public in future events.

The biggest concern was a possible bridge and connector road leading from Cedar Grove Road to Highway 44. And that road would be extended along Halls Lane to a new interchange at Highway 61 and Interstate 65.

“We don’t know anything for sure,” Duffy warned those in the crowd. 

Having formed in 2012 to contest a rezoning request next to their residential homes in Heritage Hill, the Concerned Families has become involved in several other issues and has had representatives attend many governmental meetings since.

Having successfully lobbied against the rezoning which would have allowed warehouse facilities on a part of the Heritage Hill property, Duffy said the attention suddenly focused on the proposed bridge over Salt River.

When the project went from a low to a high priority in the state transportation plans, Duffy said the group got concerned quickly.

Last March, there was $3 million set aside in the state plan to begin studies on a route for the bridge. No construction money was designated. The project was estimated at $36 million and would be completed in 2018.

In gathering information from the state and its website, Duffy said $400,000 was designated in January to find a firm which would give estimates on what the project might cost.

The timeline calls for state and local offic1als to meet with the engineering firm in September with a public hearing sometime in February 2014.

The only route listed across the Salt River was one which would use Valley View Drive as its southern entrance point. Duffy said that is a major issue due to the residential nature of the area.

But he also found it interesting that in the state drawings, a warehouse was already pictured on the map even though nothing had been approved.

If that route is determined to be the best, Duffy and Froelicher said seven residential communities would be disturbed.

Froelicher said, however, that in an original design plan for traffic solutions in the county, the bridge was closer to Ridge Road and the road would run from Beulah Church Road in Jefferson County to Shepherdsville.

Other road improvements included bypasses in Mount Washington and Shepherdsville, as well as the interchange on Interstate 65, and several intersection improvements on Highway 44.

“We are a little curious,” Froelicher said of the change in the bridge location.

Duffy said that the impact on the community would be severe if the bridge is located in the Valley View location. He said there has already been a reduction in property values in Heritage Hill since the negative publicity started.  

If the seven neighborhoods received the same negative impact, the affect could reach millions of dollars, said Duffy.

In addition to the impact on residential areas, Duffy said the county should like to protect a tourist attraction such as Heritage Hill Golf Course, which has been praised in numerous national publications as being one of the best public courses.

Froelicher said that some of the concerns he has heard include the issue over mixing residential and industrial uses.

The safety of Valley View Drive has also been a concern, especially when adding so many additional cars and trucks. Since the purpose of the bridge and connector would be to alleviate some of the congestion on Highway 44 and Cedar Grove Road, he said there would certainly be more vehicles coming through their community.

Issues like noise, diesel and light pollution were also discussed.

Instead of only being concerned about the possible route, Froelicher said the group had some possible solutions to traffic congestion.

One would be to continue the approved improvements on Highway 44 with intersection widening at Bells Mill, Bogard Lane and Armstrong Lane.

Building a southern entrance to the Cedar Grove Business Park would take traffic away from Highway 480.

If a bridge is to be built, using Mooney Lane, which is west of Heritage Hill, could be an option.

Expanding Highway 44 in the heart of Mount Washington and Shepherdsville could also improve congestion.

Duffy said that having elected officials, such as state Rep. Dwight Butler and state Rep. Russell Webber, in attendance is a benefit. Several local officials were also in attendance.

“Somebody outside our county is calling the shots and we want a seat at the table,” said Duffy.

Seeking assistance from the community, Froelicher encouraged those concerned from the community to contact their elected officials.

Also, he urged people to attend the upcoming meetings of the comprehensive land-use plan committee. The next meeting is April 4 at 7 p.m. at Paroquet Springs Conference Centre.

He also got the strong support of Bullitt County Judge Melanie Roberts when he suggested the hiring of a land-use planner by county government.