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The Transportation Cabinet of Kentucky is looking at sites to construct a new highway maintenance barn in LaRue County.
Six residents interested in selling property for the new barn submitted proposals to the state in response to an Aug. 12 advertisement in The LaRue County Herald News.
The current storage barn at 2434 Lincoln Farm Road was built in the 1960s and repairs and maintenance were becoming cost-prohibitive, said Fourth District Chief Engineer Patty Dunaway.
“It’s one of the older ones in the state,” said Dunaway. “That was one of the deciding factors.”
Funds recently became available to begin the project, she said. In time, the old barn will be declared surplus, advertised and auctioned.
Dunaway’s office submitted a list to Frankfort with the number of trucks and equipment at the LaRue County site. Those numbers will determine the size of the new building.
Representatives from the Highway Department have been inspecting the proposed sites, eliminating those that do not meet specifications. Properties should be located on a major highway within close proximity to Hodgenville city limits; contain seven to 10 acres; and have all utilities available.
It should not be in a low-lying area and the state prefers to have access to a sewer system, she said. State workers bush-hogged at least one lot so they could check the drainage on it.
“We’ll probably inform those (property owners) first if their site is not suitable,” Dunaway said. “Then we’ll meet with the others to negotiate.”
The sites include spots on Lincoln Parkway, KY 210 and KY 1618. She declined to name the property owners who submitted proposals.
She expects the state to narrow down the prospective sites within a month.
Local resident Ray DeSpain said he lives near one of the proposed sites on KY 210 and is opposed to the location.
He said the property is in a residential and farming area and he believes there may be drainage problems.
“They’ll also have to put in a turning lane,” he said.
DeSpain is collecting signatures on a petition against the site to present to the state. He fears there will be no public hearing about the new barn and he wants to make sure his concerns are known to officials in advance of construction.
Judy Alford, who lives a few miles from the site DeSpain described, said she is troubled about the effect the barn – and any stored chemicals – could have on water wells in the area. She also noted the current road conditions near the property.
“That road is just too narrow and too close to homes,” she said. “I don’t think they should put it where children will be.”