KY 15 – Perry County, KY

Palmer Engineering was selected by the KYTC to perform Phase I Design, Environmental Services, and Phase II Design to improve safety, upgrade geometrics, and address capacity issues for 1.24 miles of KY 15 from Morton Blvd. to the KY 15 Bypass.

Palmer Engineering, along with Redwing Ecological Services, teamed on this project that is located in a mountainous region of Kentucky and had numerous environmental considerations. Palmer and Redwing performed the associated baseline studies that included socioeconomic, terrestrial and aquatic biology, UST/HAZMAT, air, noise, and cultural resources. The initial phase involved performing technical studies, and an Environmental Overview was completed to rule out potential issues from previously studied alternatives.

The next phase included a Categorical Exclusion Level III document that covered a broader project area with many potential issues, including HAZMAT, stream impacts, and Environmental Justice.

Stream impacts were ultimately absorbed in the overall project costs in terms of in-lieu fees, and these and other impacts were coordinated with the design team and KYTC to develop a quick and effective action plan to meet the project schedule. The Environmental Justice survey was completed utilizing personal interviews and GIS data to show no adverse impacts to a family cluster that will be relocated.

Redwing’s report showed stream impacts are expected to be greater than 2,000 feet. The project will likely require a Letter of Permission from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Individual Water Quality Certification from the Kentucky Division of Water. The level of impacts will require compensatory mitigation. The project will result in impacts to potential habitat for the federally-endangered Indiana and gray bats. Further coordination with the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife occurred through the Biological Assessment process, which Palmer completed with Redwing’s collaboration. Compensatory mitigation for impacts to the Indiana bat summer habitat through contribution to the Indiana Bat Conservation Fund will likely be required under KYTC’s programmatic agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.