By Robbie Clark
Being within a day’s drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population is a big boon for the Central Kentucky economy, so it’s important all roads leading into and out of the area are in good shape to keep growing the economy. The growing population in Lexington and the region also require transportation improvements to keep things moving.
Many ongoing major road construction projects, highlighted in the 2016 Kentucky Recommended Highway Plan, are moving forward in Lexington.
The highest priority Fayette County project is a $34.6 million rehabbing and widening to six lanes of New Circle Road (Ky. 4) from Versailles Road to Leestown Road. As of summer 2016, six lanes of traffic were open on this section of New Circle Road.
The Versailles Road interchange for New Circle Road, which handles traffic to Blue Grass Airport, Keeneland and connects I-64 and I-75 to the Blue Grass Parkway, is being reconstructed for about $13 million. Further north on New Circle Road, the Newtown Pike interchange is being reconstructed and the road widened to six lanes from Georgetown Road to Boardwalk Avenue for $19.5 million.
When the entire project is complete, about four miles New Circle Road from Versailles Road to Boardwalk Avenue will be six lanes wide.
Work continues on the long-anticipated Clays Mill Road widening project, which has been in planning for nearly 20 years. When complete, heavily used Clays Mill Road, a 3.7-mile urban minor arterial, will have a middle turn lane, and improved pedestrian and bicycling features in an effort to relieve congestion while not disrupting the area’s neighborhood character. Most recently, the stretch from the New Circle Road overpass to Keithshire Way was complete. Slated for 2017, work will begin on the most ambitious phase of the project – a $13.4 million upgrade on the stretch of Clays Mill Road from New Circle Road to Harrodsburg Road.
A decade in the works, and a century in planning and discussion, the massive Newtown Pike Extension project just east of downtown is being completed phase by phase. Once complete, Newtown Pike, a prime link between downtown and interstate traffic to Louisville and Cincinnati, will connect with South Limestone – essentially linking the University of Kentucky with I-64 and I-75. Work is taking place currently on a third-mile reach extending Newtown Pike from Versailles Road to Patterson Street – a $19 million project.
In fall 2015, meanwhile, a 2.4-mile extension of Citation Boulevard opened to traffic after two years’ of construction work. The important extension – a $25 million project – links Leestown Road and Georgetown road and provides new access to I-75 for an industrializing section of northwest Lexington.
About 8 miles south of Lexington, the East Nicholasville Bypass in Jessamine County is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2016, with construction on the second phase beginning in 2017. The $53 million first phase will connect Ky. 39 to U.S. 27. When complete the bypass will be 7.4 miles and bypass U.S. 27, diverting traffic away from downtown Nicholasville and connecting the city with other nearby rural communities and industries.
Public transportation in Lexington is facilitated by Lextran, which operates a fleet of more than 70 buses and other vehicles that service about 900 stops in Fayette County. The Blue Grass Airport offers non-stop service to 17 destinations, with 40 daily departures. In 2015, the airport saw over 1,200,000 passengers.
Blue Grass Airport
Capital City Airport
Frankfort – cca.ky.gov
Cynthiana-Harrison County Airport
Georgetown-Scott County Regional Airport
georgetown – scottcountyairport.com
Richmond – madisonairportky.com
Stanton – airnav.com/airport/I50/
Stuart Powell Field
Danville – airnav.com/airport/KDVK
Norfolk Southern Corp.
R.J. Corman Railroad Group
Nicholasville – rjcorman.com