Thefifth meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation was held on<Day> Tuesday, October 4, 2005, at 6:00 PM, in Paintsville Kentucky at the Ramada Inn Carriage House. Representative Hubert Collins, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Brett Guthrie, Co-Chair; Representative Hubert Collins, Co-Chair; Senators Walter Blevins Jr, Charlie Borders, R J Palmer II, Richard "Dick" Roeding, and Gary Tapp; Representatives Eddie Ballard, Jim DeCesare, J R Gray, W Melvin B Henley, Paul H Marcotte, Lonnie Napier, Don R Pasley. Representative Rocky Adkins attended the meeting at the invitation of the co-chairs.
Guests: Mayor Douglas Pugh, Paintsville, Kentucky; Judge/Executive Kelly E. Callahan, Martin County; Jim Booth, Warfield, Kentucky; Mayor Dick Young, Inez, Kentucky; Deputy Judge/Executive Brett Davis, Floyd County; Pike County Road Commissioner Frank Hatcher; Judge/Executive Bill May, Magoffin County; Kentucky Transportation Cabinet representatives: Commissioner Roy Mundy and Sonia Sanders, Deputy Commissioner, Division of Vehicle Regulation; Commissioner Marc Williams, Department of Highways; Chief District Engineer Linda Wagner Justice, Highway District Office 10, Jackson, Kentucky; and Chief District Engineer Danl Hall, Highway District Office 12, Pikeville, Kentucky.
LRC Staff: John Snyder, Jim Roberts, and Linda Hughes.
The first item on the Committee Agenda was a review of Administrative Regulation 601 KAR 11:010. After a brief explanation by Commissioner Roy Mundy and Deputy Commissioner Sonia Sanders, Division of Vehicle Regulation, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the Committee raised no objection to the regulation as submitted.
Commissioner Marc Williams, Department of Highways, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, presented the Inspector General Report on change orders and the Cabinet's efforts to reduce those orders. Commissioner Williams said that early in 2004 Governor Fletcher directed the Cabinet to examine the change order process to increase efficiency and oversight. He said that review led to recommendations, some of which were already in place under the new administration. Those recommendations were: that the commissioner of highways approve all change orders; advance approval is needed for work to be done; both the construction and design divisions must agree the change order is needed; improve engineer's estimate for bid lettings; and implementation of transport/site manager.
Advantages of a transport/site manager system are: contract information is available to inspectors in the field; quicker and more comprehensive review; facilitates broader and open review of change order process; all change orders are approved by the commissioner of highways; advance approval is needed for change orders over $100,000. Commissioner Williams said that full implementation of a transport/site manger is expected by May 2007.
Commissioner Williams said that since 2004, fifty percent of low bids fell within ten percent of the engineer's estimates, whereas in 2002, only one-third of low bids fell within the ten percent estimate. In recent years the percent of total contract modifications amounted to 11.28 percent of total contract dollars in 2003, 23.35 percent in 2004, 8.04 percent in 2005, and 5.20 percent in 2006 to date. These contract modifications include construction, resurfacing, mowing, striping and other contract maintenance activities.
The next item on the Committee's agenda was a presentation of major projects scheduled for letting in the Big Sandy Area Development District during the upcoming twelve months. Commissioner Marc Williams, Department of Highways; Chief District Engineer Linda Wagner Justice, Highway District Office 10, Jackson, Kentucky; and Chief District Engineer Danl Hall, Highway District Office 12, Pikeville, Kentucky, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, presented this information. Commissioner Williams said that statewide projects costing $521 million have been awarded year to date, with $50 million due to be let in the September 23 letting. He said the remaining 2005 lettings were anticipated to be between $160 and $210 million with a total target for 2005 in the neighborhood of $730 to $780 million.
Commissioner Williams said that construction lettings totaled $460 million in 2004; $656 million in 2003; $694 million in 2002; and $775 million in 2001. In closing, Commissioner Williams said that the Cabinet anticipates to provide full and adequate oversight and build a strong and sustainable contraction program for Kentucky. He said there are several ways the Cabinet is looking ahead to improve the design, right-of-way, and environmental phases of construction.
Chairman Collins asked, in Commissioner Williams' opinion, where did some of the change orders originate. Commissioner Williams said additional work that had been assigned to a contract, fuel and asphalt price adjustments, as well as moving materials, such as rock and other materials for surface conditions.
Chairman Collins asked at what amount did the Cabinet review the bids that go over an engineer's estimate. Commissioner Williams said that there is a committee that meets on all bids that go over seven percent of an engineer's estimate. Those bids are typically reviewed and often rejected, particularly if it is a single bid contract. However, he said the Cabinet takes into consideration the higher bids if several contractors' bids are over the engineer's estimate, as well as the committee's recommendations.
Representative Marcotte asked what changes have occurred in asphalt prices over the last six months. Commissioner Williams said asphalt prices have gone up as fuel prices have. He said asphalt prices have increased by 10 to 15 percent since early this summer, however, it isn't only asphalt costs but transportation costs as well. He cautioned that if fuel prices remain as they are today, the Cabinet estimates that construction cost will soon increase another 10 to 15 percent.
Senator Blevins asked if the Cabinet had heard anything from Washington about them slowing up federal payments due to federal money being needed for the devastation in Louisiana and Texas. Commissioner Williams said that there has been some talk in the news, but he has not heard anything from the Federal Highway Administration or Kentucky's Congressional Delegation.
Senator Roeding asked how the site management process would be handled in each individual district. Commissioner Williams said that the district offices will be provided with PDAs and a program that is administered from the home office that is available to each district. He said that prior to this program districts used a spread sheet.
Senator Roeding said that it sounded like the site mangers would come from each of the districts and asked if they would be expected to be out on sites overseeing the projects. Commissioner Williams said yes.
Representative DeCesare asked if the oversight committee could hold up a project. Commissioner Williams said that the committee had the right to stop any project it had a concern about, and in his opinion, this process seemed to be working well.
Representative Rocky Adkins stated that according to information presented by the Cabinet, the Cabinet anticipates letting between $730 to $780 million in projects and in the last budget there was around a $400 million bond issue. Commissioner Williams said there were two bond issues that were apart of the program - $300 million program for state funded projects and $150 program for city, county, and local governments, as well as $150 million GARVEE bond program.
With regards to local lettings, Commissioner Williams noted the use of $379,000 in federal funds to pave the existing mile-long gravel road into Butcher Hollow, the childhood home of country music star Loretta Lynn; a project in Floyd County to improve the access to Jenny Wiley State Park and Dewey Lake Road. A number of land slide repairs and resurfacing projects that were in the September 6th and 23rd lettings that included projects in Johnson, Pike, Martin, and Floyd Counties. He also noted two bond projects that are going to be included in the October 21st letting, the reconstruction on KY 40 on Buck Creek Hill, a $2 million project in Martin County, and a $5.2 million new bridge over the Louisa Fork River outside of Paintsville in Johnson County.
Commissioner Williams also noted two large projects in Pike County which are part of the Appalachian Highway Program - each $30 million jobs for two additional sections of US 460, a curve revision on KY 319, as well as some bridge repairs and replacements on County Road 1823 at Peters Creek. The first $30 million project along with the bridge project at Peters Creek is in the Cabinet's November letting, and the second US 460 project and the curve revision on KY 319 is in the December letting. There are two bridge replacements, one that is scheduled in the Cabinet's December letting in Magoffin County on US 460 for $1.5 million, and another one in Johnson County on Greasy Creek on KY 2040 for $ 1.1 million in the January letting.
Commissioner Williams said that the state's maintenance and on-going resurfacing contracts and programs will continue to occur. He noted that all projects are accessible on-line through the Transportation Cabinet's website. He said that the Division of Construction post projects that are scheduled to be let as well as to whom the bid is awarded.
Chairman Collins inquired as to the progress of a project in Paintsville coming across Paint Creek. Chief District Engineer Hall said that the contractor is scheduled to be back on the project within a couple of weeks and the project completed by this summer.
Chairman Collins inquired if any safety measures could be installed where US 460 runs into US 114 in Magoffin County. He said that even though there is a caution light there it is still one of the most dangerous intersections in the area. Chairman Collins said that it is especially dangerous if it is raining or foggy, and asked if that area could be re-evaluated. Chief District Engineer Justice said that she would have a safety group inspect the intersection and prepare an estimate for Commissioner Williams' review.
Representative Rocky Adkins inquired into the extension of KY 645 where it dead-ends into KY 23 at Morehead Olive Hill. He noted that it is essential to open up eastern Kentucky and the project is promoted by Martin, Lawrence, Johnson, Elliot, Carter, and Rowan Counties. Representative Adkins said he realized the completion cost of the project is between $350 to $400 million, but he hoped the Cabinet would keep that project advancing. Commissioner Williams stated that he agreed with Representative Adkins and that the study is close to completion and hoped it would assist the Cabinet in considering projects on KY 645 for the next updated Six Year Highway Plan. Commissioner Williams commented that he understood that was an important project for the region.
The next item on the Committee's agenda was highway concerns from a number of local county and city officials.
Mayor Douglas Pugh, Paintsville, Kentucky, said that one of the major priorities for Paintsville and eastern Kentucky would be to four-lane the Mountain Parkway from Paintsville through Salyersville to Campton.
Judge/Executive Kelly Callahan, Martin County, said that the problem in eastern Kentucky is access. He said there are hundreds of eastern Kentucky residents working in Lexington. He noted that the widening of the Mountain Parkway, although not in his area, would benefit him nonetheless. The upgrade of US 645 to US 23 is a must. He said he gets a lot of complaints about US 645 between Martin and Lawrence Counties.
Jim Booth, Warfield, Kentucky, said he would make his speech short, the most important concern is the extension of US 645.
Mayor Dick Young, Inez, Kentucky, stated that everyone is in agreement on the KY 645 extension. He said everyone realizes how important it is to the area. Mayor Young stated that he also hoped the Committee would look at the importance of restricting the use of cell phones while operating a motor vehicle.
Deputy Judge/Executive Brett Davis, Floyd County, said that the main road of interest is the completion of KY 680 the connector between Minny, McDowell and Herald. He said that it is a road that is vital to Floyd County and is huge in terms of access in the area.
Frank Hatcher, Pike County Road Commissioner, welcomed the members and noted that although Pike County could use more money for road maintenance, there were no major concerns at this time.
Judge/Executive Bill May, Magoffin County, said that one of the most important projects for his area is to four-lane the Mountain Parkway from Campton to Prestonsburg. He said that it is one of the most deadly highways in the United States. He stated that it would promote industry and help eliminate the high unemployment rate that eastern Kentucky is currently experiencing. He said Route 460, coming out of West Liberty in Morgan County into the Johnson County needs to be maintained, as well as Route 460 going towards West Liberty out of Salyersville is in bad shape. Judge May said Route 40 coming out of Salyersville towards Paintsville is also in bad shape. The new Route 460 that joins up to the Mountain Parkway needs to be resurfaced, he said it has been resurfaced on the Johnson County side but not on the Magoffin County side.
Representative Adkins said that there has been a section completed on the Mountain Parkway out of Prestonsburg to Salyersville and inquired if there was already something in the Six Year Highway Plan to four-lane the rest from Prestonsburg to Salyersville. Commissioner Williams said that the Six Year Highway Plan shows the next phase is for 2.2 miles along KY 114 from Richardson Creek to close to the Clark School to begin design in 2007, with right-away and utilities in 2009; however, construction of $24 million not currently in the Six Year Highway Plan. Commissioner Williams stated that what needs to be done is as the Cabinet develops the next phase of the Six Year Highway Plan, to look at each of the counties, i.e., Wolfe, Magoffin, and Floyd, to see what projects can be moved forward. Commissioner Williams assured the Committee that the Cabinet will be looking hard to identify those projects in the upcoming Plan addition.
Representative Adkins asked how far it is from the Prestonsburg to Salyersville. Judge May said between 15 to 19 miles.
Representative Adkins asked if the next Six Year Highway Plan would be capped at $730 million. Commissioner Williams stated that the Cabinet is anticipating going beyond $730 million in the next Plan.
With no further business before the Committee, the meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.