Delineation of Karst Groundwater Basins along the Proposed I-66 Corridor, Pulaski Co.

  • Currens, James (PI)
  • Paylor, Randall (CoI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Proiect Area and Term: The project is part of 8-59.1 in Pulaski and Laurel Counties, between the Rockcastle River on the east and Barnesburg Road on the west. The area varies in width but is roughly delimited on the south by 37°00' north latitude, on the north at 37°15' north latitude, and covers roughly 40 square miles in the general project area. A map showing the hydrologic project area is attached. The project is proposed to begin October 1, 2004 and end September 30,2005. Statement of Problem: Critics of the 1-66 project have demanded that karst groundwater basins must be mapped if the environmental assessment is to be credible. Further, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KyTC) needs to locate, identify, and evaluate karst groundwater basins crossed by the corridor alternatives in order to comply with environmental law. Design of hydraulic structures (culverts or bridges across karst valleys) and disposal of runoff from roadways, could be substantially improved by a better understanding of the geology and hydrology of the karst. The information provided by this project can also help lower construction and long-term maintenance costs, minimize environmental damage, and preserve water quality. The hydrogeology of the karst terrain of the western half of the 8-59.1 project is poorly understood. Watershed boundaries, determined from topographic maps, are used to model the flood discharge at critical points. In karst watersheds (karst groundwater basins) boundaries cannot be assumed to be the same as the topographic watershed. The correct area of the watershed is critical for predicting overland flow in normally abandoned channels in karst. The karst geo-hazards that may occur during and after construction include collapse, flooding, and contamination of the frequently interacting groundwater and surface water. Proiect Justification: Many design, engineering, and environmental problems encountered during the planning of highways on karst are hydrology related. In karst terrain, these problems frequently go unrecognized until construction begins. Significant construction cost and environmental damages are avoided by mapping karst groundwater basins (the watersheds of springs) and other karst hazards in advance of construction. Additional hydrologic data are needed to make informed decisions about karst geo-hazards relevant to design and construction of 1-66, and compliance with environmental regulations.
Effective start/end date12/1/044/30/06


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