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Prepare for new road delays

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A segment of College Street Road closes as bridge work begins

By Marty Finley

Motorists planning to use portions of College Street Road near the U.S. 31W Bypass will have to seek alternate routes starting this week.

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The city of Elizabethtown is closing the roadway today near the bypass for up to 120 days. Traffic headed to Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, the West Park Road industrial park or nearby neighborhoods will be detoured as Haydon Bridge Co. builds an 80-foot bridge designed to divert stormwater from local subdivisions and homes.

The project has been in the works for months and Elizabethtown City Council recently authorized the contract at roughly $1 million.

Robert Bush, director of stormwater management, said the culvert being replaced is faulty and the system and embankment is functioning like a dam.

“It should alleviate some of the pressure we’re having in the area,” he said of the bridge.

Bush said the bridge also should reduce the effects of flooding in the vicinity.

Haydon Bridge Co. has 120 days to finish work under the contract. Bush foresees work of some sort ongoing the entire four months. Consequently, the city will be unable to complete the bridge before school returns and classes resume at ECTC in mid-August.

“I don’t think we’re going to make that deadline,” Bush said.

Bush said the city hopes to cut into the semester as little as possible and will strive to lessen the impact of delays.

The city has placed signs pointing toward detour routes during the construction. Those traveling northwest can use St. John Road to connect to University Drive and reach the college, Bush said. Another way to access the unclosed portion of College Street Road is connecting off South Mulberry Street, he added.

“That would be the best two routes I would say,” he said.

Bush said he recognizes the potential for some inconvenience, but suggests motorists and students add an additional 10 minutes to their drive times should they need to access a location affected by the closure.

Nearby, work continues to rehabilitate a 2.5-mile stretch of the bypass. The state plans to finish the project by September.

“We’re on schedule,” said Chris Jessie, public affairs officer for the Transportation Cabinet’s District 4 office in Elizabethtown.

Jessie said the state is resurfacing the bypass and replacing concrete with asphalt from the intersection at St. John Road up to New Glendale Road.

By switching to an asphalt surface, he added, the city will have a safer and smoother road.

Jessie described the work as “nuanced” as crews maneuver through intersections. Jessie said the work is more complex because the state must rebuild the road at the intersections to accommodate medians, traffic signals and sensors tied to the signals.

Ramps from the bypass to Western Kentucky Parkway also will be resurfaced, but Jessie said the state is trying to determine an approach that will cause the least amount of traffic disruption.

In the meantime, Jessie said, motorists have been mindful and patient with the construction, using caution when traveling on the bypass or by seeking alternate routes.

“Everything is moving along,” he said. “The motorists have done a real good job, from what we’ve observed, of being patient and taking their time.”

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.