The right of way is almost cleared for Section 1 of new US 119 between the Harlan County line and KY 932 (the base of Pine Mountain).
Section 1 right of way should be finalized this month or next. The utilities are already cleared and the environmental issues are finalized.
The FONSI (Finding of No Significant Impact) had to be reevaluated and re-approved by the Federal Highway Administration due to an Indiana bat, which is a protected species, that was sighted in the project area. Approval of the Biological Opinion took a year and a half. Mitigation measures to protect the bat’s habitat had to be developed. Those issues were resolved in December 2007, which allows the Transportation Cabinet to proceed in obtaining the necessary permit approvals.
This project uses APD (Appalachian Project Development) money, federal money that is matched by the state and which has to be spent on this project and nothing else. Section 1 should go to bid in late winter or early spring this year, as the project is on schedule.