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CALLOWAY COUNTY, KY — Work is ramping up on the construction of a new four-lane section of U.S. 641 in southern Calloway County.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says the $37.6 million contract will greatly improve local and regional travel and commerce. 

When completed, Gov. Beshear says there will be a new section of U.S. 641 covering 5.6 miles from Murray to Hazel and the Kentucky-Tennessee state line. He says the existing two-lane highway carries about 6,000 vehicles a day. 

“This is great news for Kentuckians in the region. In terms of safety and efficiency, this long-awaited project will be a pronounced improvement for the citizens of Calloway County and the flow of commerce in the Jackson Purchase,” Gov. Beshear said.

Jim Smith Contracting, of Grand Rivers, is the prime contractor for the project, which was jump-started in December 2018 with a $23 million federal BUILD (Better Using Investments to Leverage Development) grant awarded to the Calloway County Fiscal Court. 

Calloway County Judge-Executive Kenny Imes said the new U.S. 641 corridor will have a big impact on Murray, Calloway County, and the region.

“This project is the result of more than 30 years of effort and planning by our community,” Imes said. “It has involved hundreds of people over the years putting together some really big puzzle pieces. Improvements to U.S. 641 South will create a safer roadway for our citizens while expanding economic development opportunities.”  

Additionally, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 1 Chief Engineer Kyle Poat says the contractor plans to start clearing trees and brush, and demolishing structures within the construction corridor around March 1, weather permitting. 

Construction signage on side roads will be the first indication that work is about to start. 

KYTC says most of the work during the 2021 construction season will be off-road, involving construction of culverts and bridges and other construction that will not impact traffic along U.S. 641. 

The project will complete Kentucky's section of a corridor from Interstate 69 at Benton to Paris, Tenn., and Interstate 40 to the south. It's scheduled to be completed in summer 2023.