FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Crews began work on Monday to close the road between the Kentucky Capitol and the Annex. Vehicles will no longer be able to use the portion of Capital Avenue that runs between the Executive Branch and Legislative Branch offices.
Temporary blocks have been placed on the road. But road crews are working on installing permanent bollards at the east and west ends.
Governor Andy Beshear said the closure was recommended by Kentucky State Police and other security experts, like the FBI. He said the recommendations were made several times over the course of 20 years.
"After 9/11...the federal agencies, FBI - I believe secret service too - made two major recommendations for our Capitol grounds," said Beshear. "Number one - to put a fence around the Governor's Mansion. And number two - to close the section of road - the loop that is between the Capitol and the Annex."
Since that recommendation was made, Beshear said the country has seen a lot of security issues happen. His list of examples included a person driving a car into a group of protesters in Charlottesville, a car bomb in Nashville, and an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
"It's come to light how many anti-government groups there are out there," said Beshear. "The level of domestic terrorism."
So, Beshear said it's important to stay proactive on safety and security measures.
Kentucky has since put a fence around its Governor's Mansion. It is now working on closing the road between the Capitol and the annex.
"It comes down to this for me. I'm not going to be the governor who failed to act and people got hurt," said Beshear. "I'm not going to be the governor who fails to put up the bollards and close that section of road - even if it creates an inconvenience."
Beshear said the goal is to ultimately turn that road into a large green space where people can gather - even protest.
"When you talk about protecting people’s first amendment rights, we think this does it," said Beshear. "We think this protects their safety."