Planning Study and Design for KY 15, Kentucky

This DLZ project covered preparing a major route Planning study and Design for KY 15 from KY 28. It is located in the North of Hazard in Perry County to the Mountain Parkway at Campton in Wolfe County. The study included an in-depth engineering study, an environmental overview, and a final report. The Engineering Study included an evaluation of approximately 100 miles of alternate corridors to provide a four-lane divided highway. It evaluated alternate corridors in eight comparison groups, a preferred segment selected, and the recommended corridor developed by combining the preferred segments. The estimated cost of construction was $425M. The project was on hold, but work on a portion of the project around Jackson in Breathitt County was essential.

DLZ carved out a 13-mile section of the study with logical termini and independent utility out of the 40-mile KY 15 Scoping Study. Later, we developed the Preliminary Engineering and Final Design for those sections. To avoid environmental issues, DLZ completed the Environmental Baseline Studies early in the preliminary alignment investigation. Additionally, based on all engineering and environmental factors, we developed a “Preferred Alignment.”

Primary design considerations were

  • Providing river crossings that limited impact to flood plains
  • Minimizing excavation in rugged mountainous terrain (325’ cuts and 165’ fills)
  • Providing improved access to the city of Jackson
  • Avoiding sensitive environmental areas.

Several drainage issues were analyzed that demanded complex and innovative solutions, including stream mitigation measures, energy dissipation, and streamflow modification. Permitting was a significant consideration with the Corps of Engineers policy change on ephemeral stream evaluations. We had to adapt to this policy change quickly and account for waste sites and their permitting before letting the project.




Local and State Governments


Breathitt County, Kentucky