There are two sides to the Cynthiana by-pass issue

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By Becky Barnes

I have mixed emotions about the by-pass around Cynthiana that’s set to get underway this summer.
I can see the benefits for those who commute north and south to work and school. When you talk about spending two hours of your day on the road, cutting out 10 or 15 minutes of one-way drive time would be a big deal.
My husband Ernie drove to his job in Lexington from Antioch for 25 years. Not one to complain, he often remarked that there would be no car on the road in the early morning, but he would have to sit... somewhat patiently, at stop lights. His idea 15 years ago was to put the traffic lights on green or flashing yellow going north and south between 1 and 6 a.m. with a trigger for east and west approaching traffic.
My son makes that daily trek from the northern most reaches of Harrison County to south Lexington now. A by-pass would ease some of his drive-time hassles.
This by-pass may have been on some designer’s drawing board 15 years ago, but the average citizen thought it wouldn’t happen in their lifetime.
Well, that time is apparently here.
Having been on the land-owner end of a state highway project, I can sympathize with the property owners whose land will be touched or in many cases divided by the roadway.
Those property owners will, or have, received their settlements from the state for rights of way.
Where I lose my objectivity is with the unknown and the uncompensated.
Biancke’s comes to mind.
Yes, it’s a name known far and wide. People drive through Cynthiana just to stop at the historic little restaurant with the green and white awning.
But what of the people who are “just passing through” on their way between points?
They’ll miss Cynthiana.
They’ll miss Biancke’s and the charm of our small town.
I also have budget or maintenance concerns with an added highway.
Our local highway department does a bang-up job keeping the roads cleaned in the winter. My maintenance issue is with the paving and retaining of a smooth driving surface.
Last summer, I voiced my concern about the condition of U.S. 27 North between the Pendleton County line and Cynthiana. There are so many patched places, it looks like Joseph’s coat and rides like a gravel road.
There were areas where the shoulder had eroded to a crumbling mess. By fall, most of the worst areas were patched, again, with an assurance that a full repaving would be done this summer.
Now I understand that budget cutbacks may put some of the project, if not all, on hold.
If we can’t maintain the 13 miles of roads we have, what are we doing adding more?