Central Kentucky, also known as the Heartland of Kentucky, is an area that combines all the natural beauty this country has to offer with the amenities of large cities close by. The landscape consists of rolling hills and scenic waterways. While the landscape has not changed for many years, the lifestyle of the residents in this area has. With many of our garment industries leaving for cheaper labor in Latin and South America and a 50% reduction in tobacco quotas, the area has faced an economic downturn since the late 1990's.

Economic recovery and diversification, however, have begun in the region. The people of Central Kentucky are hard working, and many businesses and industries have begun to take advantage of their great work ethic and the state incentives offered in many counties throughout the area.

Among the keys to regaining economic stability will be adequate highway access. The proposed Heartland Parkway will be a connector road between the Bluegrass Parkway, north of Springfield, Kentucky, and the Louie B. Nunn Parkway, formerly Cumberland Parkway and future route of I-66, at Columbia, Kentucky. This parkway will allow a four-lane access between these two points and open Central Kentucky to more direct access to both I-65 and I-75.

In total the project will directly affect 11 counties in Central Kentucky. The Heartland Parkway will directly impact over 221,980 people who live in the region. The parkway will enable Kentucky's heartland region to market itself to industry as well as tourists. Tourism is a growing industry in this area, and with current tobacco cuts, it is necessary for communities to market themselves and not just the products they raise and manufacture. The Heartland Parkway will become a major north-south corridor for the flow of goods in and out of the region and will serve as the major gateway to the Green River Lake tourism region. It also will facilitate traffic flow into a region with other nearby lakes, major historic sites (including a growing heritage tourism corridor), and unique scenic beauty unequaled at any other point in the nation.

In July of 2001, Congressman Ron Lewis took a major step for the Heartland Parkway when he supported transportation funding legislation that included $500,000 in funding for the parkway. The funds in the appropriation will begin the planning process while also paying for feasibility, preliminary engineering, and environmental studies.

According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the total length of the Parkway will be approximately 60 miles. At a cost of $3.5 million per mile, the total project cost would be $210 million. This cost estimate incorporates all phases of work (Planning, Environmental, Design, Right of Way, Utilities and Construction).

While the Heartland Parkway is still in the planning stages, it is gaining the support of many local, state, and federal legislators and officials. Please lend us your support by e-mailing your legislators (see contact info. page) and continue to visit our site for updates on the progress of the parkway.

In February 2005, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) completed the Heartland Parkway Alternatives Planning Study. That analyzed alternative corridors connecting the Louie B. Nunn Cumberland Parkway to the south with the Martha Layne Collins Bluegrass Parkway to the north.

Alternatives studied include a no-build option, following the existing alignment, and developing a new alignment. The alternative recommended for further study followed the existing alignment and utilized KY 55, US 68, and KY 555. Use of the bypasses around the communities of Columbia and Lebanon were recommended. A new bypass around Campbellsville to the southeast was recommended. The KYTC has since divided the corridor into smaller sections for preliminary engineering and environmental assessment.

Heartland Parkway Foundation | 205 North Columbia Avenue | Campbellsville, KY 42718 | 270.465.9636

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