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Have you driven on Interstate 71 in Carroll County lately? If so, you’ll know our section of this major highway is in need of repairs.
This winter has not been kind to I-71. It’s rough and the number of potholes seems to increase every day. And it’s only going to get worse as the weather breaks in the next month and there is a lot of freezing and thawing to damage the pavement.
At best, I would say riding through Carroll County is a bumpy experience. It’s hard on both our bodies and our vehicles.
Carroll County Judge Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson drew attention to the need for work on I-71 at the last fiscal court meeting Jan. 18. Representatives from the District 6 office of Kentucky Transportation Cabinet were at the meeting to discuss road plans for Carroll County in the next year.
Our part of I-71 is set only for some bridge work later this year, but no construction to address other needs.
Carroll County is the home of major industries that depend on lots of trucks to haul in and transport out materials and products. And this year, traffic that travels both to our community and through it on the way to other places will increase dramatically as NASCAR brings its first Sprint Cup race to Kentucky Speedway.
Tomlinson pointed out at that fiscal court meeting that all of the construction on I-71 is taking place north of the speedway in Sparta. He says it’s just “common sense” that lots of race fans will travel from the south to the track.
I would wonder if there could be even more coming from the south than by way of Cincinnati. The race just prior to the opener at Kentucky Speedway is at Daytona, so the crowds leaving there are likely to drive up I-71.
Tomlinson also pointed out that lots of folks fly on Southwest Airlines, which comes to Louisville’s airport and not the Northern Kentucky airport in Covington.
We know that our District 6 officials know our road needs. And Tomlinson will not let them forget we are here.
But our highway officials, both from the district and the state, need to recognize the important role Carroll County plays in the region’s economy. Look at the employers we have here — North American Stainless, Dow Corning, Arkema, Certainteed Gypsum, Gallatin Steel and Kentucky Utilities.
It’s time that I-71 here in Carroll County sees an investment, much like the areas from the Sparta and north have seen with the millions in federal dollars that are being spent there.
I agree this project is needed. But so is ours, both for the year-round traffic and our visitors coming through to see NASCAR racing in Kentucky.
Otherwise, they’ll find it’s a rough and bumpy ride to get to Sparta from Daytona, but a smooth and easy drive to leave the state when they head for the next race in New Hampshire.
A great day
Friday was a great day for Carroll County with the announcement that North American Stainless is beginning its ninth expansion. Also, it’s wonderful to know that the property has been deeded so Jefferson Community and Technical College will have a new campus across from General Butler State Resort Park. Our community has two more reasons to celebrate its success.
Jeff Moore is publisher of The News-Democrat and The Trimble Banner. He resides in Carrollton, Ky.