The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) initiated a Small Urban Area (SUA) study for the city of Paducah, Kentucky in McCracken County in April 2018. The study identified and examined highway and multimodal transportation issues related to safety and congestion in Paducah and the surrounding area. The study area includes the city limits of Paducah and some surrounding portions of McCracken County, totaling 91.1 square miles. The City of Paducah requested the development of an urban transportation study for the Paducah area, as the last Paducah-McCracken County Transportation Study was completed in 2002. This SUA planning study was funded with Federal Statewide Planning and Research (SPR) funds.
The previous study for the City of Paducah and McCracken County was completed in 2002. Numerous projects were outlined in the project and have been incorporated in the statewide transportation planning process described below. Transportation Study (2002)
In Kentucky, the transportation planning process, primarily for state maintained roadways, is handled on the state level with specific projects and ideas coming from the local communities. All of these projects are compiled on a regional level at 15 regional planning agencies called Area Development Districts (ADD). Paducah and McCracken County are located in the Purchase Area Development District (PADD) along with seven other surrounding counties in the region. Citizens and elected officials from these eight counties comprise the Purchase Area Development District Transportation Committee. In addition to roads, this committee also considers projects concerning air travel, rail transport, river transport, or projects that have some or all of these components. The Committee makes recommendations and requests to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) for new projects, maintenance, funding, or other transportation related items.
Generally, projects are organized into two categories by the state all being part of the statewide planning process. The Unscheduled Projects List (UPL) is a Long-Range Planning Element consisting of a list of projects where a need has been identified but there is no time table or funding commitment for completion of the project. The 6-year plan projects are Short-Term Planning Element projects that are projects having higher priority needs with a specific funding committment. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet maintains and funds the 6-Year Plan for the entire state. The Kentucky General Assembly allocates funding for the 6-Year Plan in two year cycles. For more information on the Kentucky Transportation Planning process, visit the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet website.
Additionally, the Paducah Planning and Engineering Departments plan for local projects that may or may not have involvement from the state.
The Purchase Area Development District (PADD) is responsible mainly for the analysis of data, identification and evaluation of needs in their region, and the subsequent evaluation and prioritization/ranking of projects in the Unscheduled Projects List (UPL) for possible inclusion in the Six-Year Highway Plan and the coordination of public input. The Purchase Area Development District's role in the statewide transportation planning process is to work with the Regional Transportation Planning Committee to evaluate and prioritize all transportation needs concerned with all modes of transportation in the region; identification of new needs; prioritization/ranking of all unscheduled projects; establish a public involvement process that will involve diverse interest groups in the statewide transportation planning process - involving all modes of transportation; provide coordination with other planning activities in the region; complete the various tasks described in its annual scope of work.