Today, Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce officials, representatives from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Inter-modal Transportation Authority gathered along with local business leaders and federal, state, and local officials to celebrate the new Interstate-65 interchange, Exit 30, with a grand opening and ribbon cutting at the Kentucky Transpark.
This $66.8 million project will provide direct access to I-65 for companies in northern Warren County, including those in the Kentucky Transpark and Scotty's Industrial Park. Previously, all industrial traffic accessed both parks via Exit 28, near the General Motors' Bowling Green Assembly Plant and the National Corvette Museum, approximately four miles away. The new connector road is four lanes, with the ability to be expanded to six lanes in the future.
"The opening of this I-65 interchange is a landmark achievement for Warren County," said Senator Mitch McConnell. "The Kentucky Transpark is an economic driver for South Central Kentucky, and Exit 30 will help the region continue to prosper. I was proud to partner with community and state leaders to make this interchange a reality, and I am grateful for their dedication to this project. Because of their work, this interchange will help support jobs, investment, and economic development to our state."
Additional road improvements were made to US-31W and US-68 as part of this project.
"The Connector Road Project epitomizes the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's mission statement: to deliver a safe, efficient, environmentally sound, and fiscally responsible transportation system for Kentuckians," said Joe Plunk, Chief District Engineer for the District 3 office. "The new roadway and interchange will provide even greater accessibility for freight movement from one of Southcentral Kentucky's economic centers - The Kentucky Transpark - and enhance mobility for motorists in the region," said Plunk.
Since 1988, daily traffic along I-65 at the new interchange location has more than doubled, growing from 25,000 to over 52,000 vehicles per day, according to latest KYTC traffic counts. Just south of Exit 28, daily traffic increases to over 61,000 vehicles.
In addition to direct interstate access, the Kentucky Transpark offers tenants access to rail service and major highways. The Transpark is within close proximity to the Owensboro Riverport and several International Airports - including two global air cargo hubs.
"The interchange at the Kentucky Transpark has been a dream a long time in the making," said ITA Chairman, Gary Dillard. "Since Bowling Green Metalforming broke ground thirteen years ago, the economic development partnerships within the Warren County community have continued to grow right along with the park. We are fortunate to have such a valuable tool in the community and now it is visible to millions of people traveling along I-65 every year."
Since 2011, 300 acres and 1.1 million square feet of industrial space have been developed within the Kentucky Transpark. It is home to two state-of-the-art vocational-based education facilities and eight of the region's targeted industries, including Bowling Green Metalforming, which employs over 1,600 people. As of April, the Transpark supports over 2,600 jobs, which will have a $5.9 billion economic impact on South Central Kentucky over the next 10 years.
"We are happy to celebrate the opening of the new interchange with economic development partners from across the region and state, today," said Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ron Bunch. "The South Central Kentucky region continues to experience extraordinary and vital success through economic development and this new interchange will, without a doubt, positively impact our growth moving forward. Thank you to everyone involved in making today possible, including the partnership among the EDA, ITA, Chamber of Commerce, the city of Bowling Green and Warren County."
Direct interstate access to the industrial parks in northern Warren County will allow shorter commute times to destinations within the parks; truck and vehicle traffic will be able to reach their destinations within five minutes. Exit 30 will also alleviate congestion along US-31W and Exit 28.
"Congratulations are in order for the hundreds of people involved in making this project a success," said Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon. "I'd also like to thank Sen. McConnell for his vision and support in earmarking the federal funding to support this project. The Kentucky Transpark is not only a driving force for development and growth in Warren County, but for Kentucky. The impact the new interchange will have on the community is infinite and we look forward to Warren County's undeniably bright future."
"There is no doubt that the city of Bowling Green is growing," said Bowling Green Mayor, Bruce Wilkerson. "Over 2,200 new apartments and houses have been built since July 2012 and this growth can be directly related to the economic development work within our community. We are happy to celebrate another milestone in improving our community."
The Transpark has 300 acres available for industrial development, including three build-ready lots, one rail-served build-ready lot and two speculative buildings ranging from 60,000 to 108,000 square feet in size.
The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated nearly $1 billion in capital investment and over 1,000 jobs in 2015. It was the region's largest investment year in a decade. In 2016, The Chamber announced over $463 million in investment and 703 new jobs, making last year the region's second largest investment year for the region in a decade.For 2017, the Chamber has announced three economic development projects, including $86.7 million in investment and 283 new jobs.