Lebanon Junction residents want state to make progress on closed road

Updated: Jul. 24, 2018 at 6:18 PM EDT
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LEBANON JUNCTION, KY (WAVE) - Residents in one Kentucky town feel like they've been left with a "bridge to nowhere", after a popular road is closed for months with no work done.

State officials closed Kentucky 434, better known as Colesburg Road, at the bridge over the Rolling Fork River near the Hardin/ Bullitt County line, to repair an embankment slide. Residents say they understand the closure, but they don't understand why it's taking so long to get going.

There may be "road closed" signs and construction cones at the KY 434 bridge, but the only sounds you'll hear, are those belonging to birds and insects. The road has been closed since April, no construction has started and residents say that's hurting the older neighbors and businesses the most. That's exactly what area residents don't want.

There's not a construction crew in sight working on the embankment slide that closed the road in the first place.

"They don't get in no hurry, about doing nothing," Lifelong resident Harold Boblitt said.

"We've have calls daily, is the bridge open? No, well, we will be back when it's open," County Line Bar owner Nolene Boggs said of her conversations with customers.

It's hurting businesses big time says Boggs, whose customers mostly live on the other side of the bridge. Now, they have to detour by way of KY 61 to I-65 to KY 313 to get back to KY 434.

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"I'm going to lose my business," Boggs said. "We're going to shut down if we don't get it open so people can get here."

A 2016 study by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet found 574 vehicles travel that stretch every day. Residents say those drivers are mostly seniors who avoid I-65 and use the road to go into Elizabethtown.

Neighbors believe they're not a priority, because their city is small.  Transportation Cabinet Spokeswoman Andrea Clifford tells WAVE 3 News, that's not the case. Clifford says engineers must determine the extent of the slide and says even accessing the slope on foot is difficult.

"It's going to require repairs all the way down to what they call the toe of the slope down at the bottom," Clifford said. "And we'll have to backfill in behind that, to stabilize the area."

Clifford says they won't rush the work, because they want to do it right and get a permanent fix.

"They worry about the stream, but they don't worry about the people who are living here, the older people that's having a hard time dealing with this," Former Lebanon Junction Mayor Butch Sweat said.

After hearing from residents, State Representative Linda Belcher, who represents District 49,  tells us, she has spoken with state transportation officials and has a meeting set up August 21 in the hope of getting some answers and movement on the road closure.

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