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Back-to-school is a hectic time, but with the College Street Road closure at the U.S. 31W Bypass, students, faculty and staff at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College are expecting more than the usual first-week-of-school traffic.
Because of construction of an 80-foot bridge to divert storm water from local subdivisions, College Street Road is not expected to re-open until Oct. 22 when the project’s 120-day contract expires, said Robert Bush, Elizabethtown director of storm water management.
The community college’s fall semester begins Monday.
“It’s certainly going to make things interesting,” ECTC spokeswoman Mary Jo King said about the street closure.
With limited access roads to the college, the College Street Road closure will make things particularly troubling for students coming from the 31W Bypass and Western Kentucky Parkway, King said.
Alternate routes to the college include taking St. John Road off the 31W Bypass to University Drive or using South Mulberry Street to College Street Road, Bush said. People taking University Drive are encouraged to be careful in the afternoon because of nearby tennis courts and baseball fields, King said.
Commuters also can access College Street Road via West Park Road, which connects at Ring Road on the west side of the Remington Arms Building and east of the Addington Transportation Building, she said.
There is also a new connector road between College Street Road and Ring Road that has been opened to alleviate traffic, King said.
With the closure and expected increase in traffic near the college, King said drivers are encouraged to add at least 10 minutes to their school commute and, if they can, to carpool.
“We are encouraging students, faculty and staff to carpool if they can because it would help to alleviate traffic,” she said.
From about 8 a.m. to 3 or 4 p.m. are peak class hours during which the parking lots are crowded, King said. The college employs about 300 faculty and staff, and about 8,000 students were enrolled during the spring semester.
Barring severe weather conditions or a similar emergency, Bush said the project, which began June 27 and was budgeted around $1 million, is expected to be completed on time.
“The whole point of the project is to alleviate some flooding upstream of this bridge location, particularly in the Freeman Creek Estates subdivision,” he said.
Bush expects the project to reduce the threat of flooding for residents in that area, he said.
The College Street Road project is part of a comprehensive storm water project, Bush said.
Also creating congestion is nearby 31W Bypass construction, which is expected to be completed Oct. 16, just a few days before the College Street Road project, said Josh Hornbeck, a branch manager at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 4 in Elizabethtown.
“We expect to be completed by that date,” he said.
The 31W Bypass project started April 6 and is budgeted at $9.3 million, said Patti Dunaway, District 4’s chief engineer.
Before reaching completion, two more ramps will be closed — the westbound Western Kentucky Parkway ramp to northbound 31W Bypass and the South Mulberry Street ramp near the Pritchard Community Center, Hornbeck said.
Closure dates will be announced soon, Hornbeck said, and the ramps will be closed for 10 days.
Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.