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City awarded money for road paving

By JOE ASHER
joe.asher@middlesboronews.com

The city of Middlesboro has received funding totaling more than $121,000 to be used for road resurfacing.
According to Chuck Wolfe, deputy executive director of the Office of Public Affairs for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the funding is for surfacing work done on Salisbury Avenue, Wilderness/Ashbury Street and Edgewood Street. The awards are $45,680 for Salisbury Avenue, $46,938 for Wilderness/Ashbury Street and $28,730 for Edgewood Street. All are reimbursements to the city for resurfacing.
Middlesboro Mayor Rick Nelson explained how the funding will be used.
“There are programs the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has, actually I think it just started a couple of years ago,” Nelson said. “Last year we were able to get $125,000 for resurfacing some of our city streets, and we decided to do 15th Street.”
Nelson said the forms for this year’s award were filled out in January.
“We waited and finally got good news that we’d received $121,000 plus for resurfacing our streets,” Nelson said. “This is extra money, it’s not figured into the gas formula money, but that will allow us to blacktop some of our city streets and we can stretch out gas tax money a little further.”
Nelson said Middlesboro has gotten about $250,000 over the last two years through this program.
“That state was very gracious, Gov. Beshear and Secretary Gray, we appreciate that money and we’re going to keep trying for it every year,” Nelson said.
Work on is expected to begin on those roads soon.
“We’re hoping to start in the next couple of weeks, before that blacktop plant closes down,” Nelson said.
The funding is part of a package announced by Governor Andy Beshear on Oct. 27, which included $9 million in funding from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) to 30 communities for improvement of local streets and roads, according to the state’s website at https://kentucky.gov/Pages/Activity-stream.aspx?n=GovernorBeshear&prId=434.
“Transportation infrastructure is more than just interstate highways and massive bridges,” said Beshear. “For most people, day in and day out, the most important infrastructure is the streets and roads that lead to their front door or school or workplace. The funding we’re announcing today helps our city and county governments maintain those vital local routes.”
The website states the $9,246,953 funding is intended to reimburse 19 counties and 11 cities in 19 for work such as pavement repair, resurfacing and drainage ditching on roadways that were rated in poor condition. The projects were submitted for funding consideration from local officials. In each case, KYTC district engineers assessed road conditions to determine the most critical needs based on factors such as safety, economic impact, and traffic volumes.