Berea motorists know how quickly traffic can back up on northbound U.S. 25 near Sav-A-Lot. That will change, however, after the City of Berea recently secured approximately $8 million in funding to widen the two-lane highway from Ellipse Street to the Berea Bypass. The plan will also include a shared use path for bicycles on both sides of the road.
The scale of the project was in doubt earlier this year when officials from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet asked city officials to scale down the project to $6.2 million. That change would have meant, among other things, elimination of the shared use paths on both sides of U.S. 25 from Highland Drive to the Bypass. But when it looked like the project was going to be scaled down, State Senator Jared Carpenter (District 34) intervened on behalf of the city, requesting that the state’s secretary of the transportation restore funding for the full project. “I told them either they should do it right or not do it at all,” Carpenter said. Frankfort agreed, and the city recently received word that the original plan was back in effect. Berea City Administrator Randy Stone reported last week that the widening of U.S. 25 North will go out to bid in October.
With the restoration of the original plans, the city will be one step closer to realizing the goal of establishing a connected network of bike paths throughout Berea. Cycling is a fast-growing segment of the tourism economy in Kentucky, according to state officials.