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Local News

August 28, 2007

I-66 plan causes road rage

400 angry residents attend public meeting

Four years ago, more than 400 concerned citizens gathered around in clusters, poring over four maps showing the corridor bands for the proposed Interstate 66 at a meeting at the London Community Center.

Not since then have so many angry citizens attended an I-66 meeting until Monday evening.

More than 400 concerned citizens again gathered at the center to see for the first time the proposed route (alternate M), selected by the Transportation Cabinet, Department of Highways, for the Laurel County section of the interstate.

East of the Rockcastle River, alternate M uses three miles of the existing KY 80 corridor before turning southeast near Bernstadt. Alternate M then crosses KY 192 near Willie Green and Maple Grove roads before connecting with Interstate 75, just south of Autumn Ridge subdivision.

Most of the citizens attending the meeting oppose the proposed road.

Sherry and John Cox live at the corner of Roy Dugger and High Moore roads, in their dream house near the proposed interstate.

“We built our home years ago,” Sherry Cox said tearfully.

“It’s going through my living room, it’s taking every bit of my property,” Cox added. “I retired in order to spend my life there. We’re on the eastern ridge. That’s the only place cucumber magnolia trees grow is on the eastern ridge line. That’s peace and quiet. We have animals, two dogs, birds, wild baby turtles hatch out there every year.”

“A good engineer can figure out a way to use west 80 the way it is and make it work,” said Cox’s husband, John. “People are set to make money on this. That’s what it’s about. They’re going to destroy my wonderful trees I’ve spent 10 years growing. We planted about 300. If we have to move, I’d rather them buy me out today so that I can get along with my life. They’re putting me on hold. It’s not like I have 20 years to redo something. I’m old enough if I have to move, I want to do it now, not later. They’ll probably drag this out for four or five years. It’s not just about property, it’s about the way you live. We’re literally growing a forest on our land because I love trees.”

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