Gov. Beshear Cuts Ribbon on Final Segment of KY 30 Project and Unveils Highway Signage Honoring Former State Rep. Marie Rader

20-year corridor project improves safety and connectivity, cuts travel time in half

TYNER, Ky. (July 20, 2022) – Gov. Andy Beshear joined state and local officials today to celebrate the completion of a redefining 20-year transportation project that improves safety, connectivity and economic opportunities in southeastern Kentucky. The new, wider Kentucky Highway 30 stretches 33 miles from Booneville to London. Gov. Beshear unveiled honorary signage naming a portion of the final segment in Jackson County after former state representative Marie Rader.

“We are building a better Kentucky through better transportation, and this project demonstrates the power of infrastructure to boost the quality of life for Kentuckians by introducing a safer, faster route to keep them connected,” Gov. Beshear said. “This project shaved off half the time it took to go from Booneville to London, making life-saving emergency services quicker. It also means locals can live here and have shorter commutes to work at one of the hundreds of new jobs created by employers like JRD Systems in London, Chapin in Rockcastle County and Firestone in Williamsburg.” 

The final piece of the new KY 30 began in 2019 to straighten the former 13.5-mile curvy corridor between Tyner in Jackson County to Travellers Rest in Owsley County. The shorter, straighter path shaved 3.5 miles off the route and cut drive times in half, from 21 minutes to 11 minutes, allowing drivers to safely cruise at the posted speed of 55 mph. KY 30 is the most direct route from Lee, Jackson and Owsley counties to Interstate Highway 75 and businesses in London. The old KY 30 remains in service for local traffic and is now named Kentucky Highway 3630. While the final segment has been open to traffic since the spring, in June, crews finished constructing three new roads connecting the old route to the new route in Owsley and Jackson counties. Final paving and striping along the final segment were also performed, marking the project complete.

“The completion of KY 30 from London to Booneville is a major enhancement for the many drivers who commute for work through Owsley, Jackson and Laurel counties, while also opening this portion of our region for economic development opportunities,” Congressman Hal Rogers, Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives, said. “This project is a great example of federal and state cooperation for the benefit of local residents and businesses.”

“This visionary project is the culmination of decades of hard work and demonstrates the Team Kentucky spirit of what’s possible when we work together,” Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray said. “The new KY 30 is more efficient for large trucks and commuters to navigate, gives stalled vehicles a place to safely stow in an emergency and it makes the scenic cross-county drive more enjoyable. I’m proud of the lasting impact it will make in Eastern Kentucky.”

“The KY 30 project has been an idea for decades, and I am happy about the incredible progress on this monumental economic development project for Jackson, Lee and Owsley counties,” Senate President Robert Stivers of Manchester said. “KY 30 benefits many counties and people, and now travel times are shortened and road conditions are much safer.”

The final section features 11-foot-wide lanes – one foot wider than before – and includes new eight-foot paved emergency shoulders to store disabled vehicles and plowed snow. The project includes several connector roads to both county and state roadways, making for multiple access points for local residents and businesses. The roadway was constructed with many safety features, such as 6-inch thermo striping, centerline rumbles, shoulder rumbles, new guardrail and roadway delineators.

“The completion of the KY 30 corridor project is a game changer for Owsley County and the surrounding community,” Owsley County Judge/Executive Cale Turner said. “I’m thrilled to see this day come as this faster, straighter route will open up more opportunities in this part of the state, help ambulances respond faster to emergencies and save time on work commutes.”

Another portion of the regional connector, reconstruction of Kentucky Highway 11 from the KY 30 intersection in Owsley County to two miles south of Beattyville in Lee County, is underway, with completion scheduled for next year.

The $53 million final segment of the project was built by Bizzack Construction. KYTC used toll credits for the state match, making the final segment of the project 100% federally funded. The overall cost of the project, including six previously completed segments, is $220 million.  

Portion of Highway Honors Former State Representative
Marie Rader spent two decades representing the 89th House District in the General Assembly. The Jackson County Fiscal Court passed a resolution in favor of naming a portion of the Jackson County section in her honor. Secretary Gray signed an official order designating a 6-mile stretch of KY 30 in Jackson County as the “Marie Rader Highway.” Two signs were installed following the ceremony.

“Eastern Kentucky counties celebrate the completion of New Route 30. This section of road provides a lifeline for the residents for today and the future. It provides safe travel to hospitals, jobs, education and recreation – also allowing residents to remain on family farms and homes. Thanks so much for the all parties involved in the success of KY Route 30,” Mrs. Rader said. 

“Marie Rader was a well-known champion for this project and her legacy will remain for generations to come in her community through the installation of new signage bearing her name,” Gov. Beshear said.

“Congratulations to Marie Rader on this well-deserved tribute to her years of public service,” Secretary Gray said. “It was my pleasure to sign the order for this road naming to cement her role in the project’s history.”

“It has been a pleasure to work with Rep. Marie Rader over the last 15 years to see work completed on KY 30,” Senate President Stivers said. “It is only right that a portion of the highway is named in her honor. I thank all involved in getting us to this point and celebrate with each of them today.”

“Mrs. Rader has dedicated much of her life to seeing our area of Kentucky grow and develop for future generations. KY 30 is a dream that became a reality under her leadership. We are very grateful for her and her fellow leaders, that saw this project through,” Jackson County Judge-Executive Shane Gabbard said.


Editors: A link to footage of KY 30 is available here.