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In the last two weeks, city and transportation officials have installed more than 40 new street markers on Elizabethtown’s four main thoroughfares that feature letter and number combinations designating major intersections.
Chris Jessie, spokesman for Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 4, said the road signs were installed at the city’s request. The transportation cabinet permitted the establishment of the markers with the Elizabethtown Tourism Commission covering the costs, he said.
The 44 signs — featured at major intersections along Dixie Avenue, Ring Road, Mulberry Street and U.S. 31W Bypass — are attached to metal poles at the corners of the junctions as opposed to being planted in the ground or hanging from wires bearing stoplights.
In the corner of each marker is a square containing a letter and number designation. For example, the intersection at Ring Road and West Park Road is marked “R11” and the crossing at Dixie and Pine Valley Drive is “D18.”
Elizabethtown Public Works Superintendent Don Hill said crews have finished installing signs on Ring Road, Mulberry Street and the Bypass but were continuing to put up markers on Dixie. He estimated the work would be completed next week.
Tourism Executive Director Sherry Murphy said the city purchased the signs from Louisville company Saf-Ti-Co with the commission reimbursing the $14,662.17 price tag.
According to Murphy, the commission was considering the concept when former Mayor Tim Walker returned from a trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn., a popular vacation destination that features designated intersections along its main roadway.
The city and tourism then converged on the concept, she said, and began spending a lot of time trying to determine the best way to label the intersections.
It’s not a “brand new idea,” Murphy said. Radcliff executed a similar concept some time ago along Dixie.
City spokesman Bryce Shumate said Radcliff established number-designated intersections along Dixie in response to Base Realignment and Closure to ease navigation difficulties for newcomers to the area.
The green markers feature numerals in reflective tape and hang from wires across major intersections, he said. The numbers begin at the city’s southern limits.
“It helps quite a bit when new folks are coming in,” Shumate said.
A problem Elizabethtown encountered, Murphy said, is the city has several main roadways. Several attractions and major businesses, such as the Elizabethtown Sports Park, are not accessible from Dixie.
“We knew we were going to have to do more than (U.S.) 31W,” Murphy said.
With the signs going up along more than one roadway, Murphy said a letter-number system was “really the only way we could do it” as motorists, especially those new to or visiting the area, require more specific directions.
“Just to do the numbers, we didn’t think it would work,” she said.
In addition to installing the new signs, she said the tourism commission already has printed new maps featuring the letter-number system.
“It’s just a directional tool,” Murphy said.
Sarah Bennett can be reached at 270-505-1750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.