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News Item #1011
[Commonwealth of Kentucky]
Beverage Replaces Yowell as State Highway Engineer
Posted: 11-Dec-2004 12:21AM CST

Today, Gov. Ernie Fletcher appointed Sam Beverage, PE as State Highway Engineer. The State Highway Engineer works with the Commissioner of Highways to administer the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the more than 27,000 miles of state maintained roads in Kentucky. Beverage has previously served the transportation cabinet as Chief District Engineer for District 6, District 10, and District 11. Earlier this year, Gov. Fletcher appointed Beverage as Chief District Engineer for both Districts 10 and 11. Beverage also previously served as Commissioner of the West Virginia Department of Highways.

Beverage will replace J.M. “Mac” Yowell. Since becoming State Highway Engineer in 1992, Yowell has served under three governors: Jones, Patton, and Fletcher. At twelve years, he was the longest serving state highway engineer in the nation. Yowell will continue to serve the cabinet in the capacity of an executive advisor.

Among the transportation cabinet’s accomplishments during Yowell’s tenure was the completion of the Cumberland Gap Tunnel. Yowell was a driving force behind the completion of that project.

Sam Beverage Accomplishments


Chief District Engineer, District 6 and Districts 10-11


·        Decentralized district functions to locate more professional staff members in field positions, eliminating travel time to projects and providing more “hands-on” management.

·        Created maintenance areas of two or more counties to allow equipment and personnel to be shared and utilized more efficiently.

·        Reduced the workforce in each district through attrition and combination of district office and management responsibilities without a reduction in services, thus reducing overhead costs and increasing the number of personnel in the field.

·        Privatized functions that can be done more effectively by contractors rather than by state forces, such as guardrail repair and striping.

·        In District 6, coordinated multiple highway expansion projects required by the rapid economic growth of the area, particularly the area surrounding the Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Airport.

·         In Districts 10 and 11, participated in a pilot project to combine management of the two adjacent districts under one chief district engineer, allowing the districts to share resources and work more closely together on related projects.


Commissioner, West Virginia Division of Highways


·        Involved in the planning of the Coalfields Expressway (US 121) and King Coal Highway (US 52) projects in southwestern West Virginia that will tie in to proposed Interstate 66 in Kentucky.

·        Settled lawsuits that delayed construction of Appalachian Regional Commission Corridor H, allowing work to proceed. (Kentucky also has unfinished ARC corridor highways)

·        Worked with Pennsylvania officials to develop the Mon-Fayette Expressway, a highway currently under construction linking the two states, establishing a track record of multi-state cooperation. (Important for Northern Kentucky and Louisville bridge projects)

·        Worked with the state’s congressional delegation and state legislators. Made frequent presentations to West Virginia legislators on highway issues. Wrote legislation enabling clerical and administrative employees to credit some of their work experience as administrative, thus eliminating a “glass ceiling” and resulting in more women being boosted into nontraditional jobs.

·        Made presentations to bond rating firms such as Moody’s and Standard & Poor; West Virginia sold $550 million worth of bonds during his tenure as highway commissioner.


Other information of interest


·        Was a candidate for Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation in 1999, and for Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation in 2003.

Source: Transportation Cabinet Press Release

More information: Kentucky Transportation Cabinet: Kentucky Transportation Cabinet names new State Highway Engineer (Dec. 10, 2004), Business First of Louisville: Kentucky Transportation Cabinet names new state highway engineer (Dec. 10, 2004) [Outside Link], (Northern) Kentucky Post: Ex-roads boss in N. Ky. to head state engineers (Dec. 10, 2004) [Outside Link], Courier-Journal: Fletcher names highway engineer (Dec. 11, 2004) [Outside Link], Associated Press: Governor appoints new highway engineer (Dec. 11, 2004) [Outside Link], Associated Press: Fletcher appoints road engineer (Dec. 12, 2004) [Outside Link]

(Updated, Dec. 22) The rumor on the Internet [Outside Link] is that outgoing State Highway Engineer J.M. "Mac" Yowell, P.E. will oversee the Louisville-Southern Indiana Bridges Project.

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Updated: 11-Dec-2004 12:21AM CST

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