KY road plan includes millions of dollars to widen dangerous section of Lexington road

The recently passed $5.2 billion state highway plan has more than $121 million for Fayette County road projects, including the widening of a section of Georgetown Road that has been discussed for decades.

The Kentucky General Assembly passed House Bill 266 last week. The measure now heads to Gov. Andy Beshear’s desk for his approval or veto.

The plan includes $10 million to widen a section of Georgetown Road between Kearney and Ironworks roads. Construction likely wouldn’t begin until 2026.

“This is important because of the number of crashes on that section of Georgetown Road,” said Chris Evilia, transportation planning manager of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, a regional planning group that helps recommend and plan transportation projects.

The city has been pushing for the widening of that section for nearly 20 years, Evilia said.

Another big project in coming years is a new connection between Polo Club Boulevard and Sir Barton Way in the bustling Hamburg area. The two-year plan includes $1.8 million for designs for a new connector in that area.

The area is booming, Evilia said. The new Baptist Health Lexington medical building will open in April. The University of Kentucky HealthCare campus and a new hotel, retail, restaurant and apartment development are all planned for that section of Polo Club Boulevard.

The state road plan also includes more than $7 million over several years for right-of-way, utilities and construction of the widening of U.S 60, or Winchester Road, from Polo Club Boulevard to Haley Road. The widening of Winchester Road in that area has long been planned. Construction likely won’t begin until 2026.

The other big-ticket items in Fayette County include more than $30 million to add more lanes and make other safety improvements near the Interstate 75 and Intestate 64 split.

The $30 million would go to improvements from the northern split to the southern split — roughly in the Newtown and Paris Pike segment of the combined federal highway. That area around mile marker 110 is also an accident-prone area, state transportation officials have long said. This continues a current construction project in the area of the I-75 and I-64 split.

Money for Versailles Road, planning for new connector to I-75

Other key projects included in the state highway plan include:

  • More than $1 million for designs for further improvements to Versailles Road from roughly Mason Headley to the Oliver Lewis Way bridge. The state transportation cabinet recently completed road widening and adding pedestrian and bike lanes to a section of Versailles Road east of Mason Headley Road. The city has set aside money for designs for safety improvements to Versailles Road, which has a lot of pedestrian traffic but few safe places for people to cross.

  • More than $23.9 million for a major project on North Broadway and New Circle Road that includes the reconstruction of the RJ Corman overpass on North Broadway and multiple safety improvements in the New Circle Road area between Boardwalk and North Limestone.

  • $500,000 in planning money for a study on new east-west connectors between US 127 and I-75, which has long been discussed. The study area will include Anderson, Fayette, Franklin, Woodford, Scott and Mercer counties.

Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton thanked Kentucky legislators for funding some long-wanted transportation upgrades.

“Several key needs were funded,” Gorton said. “I advocated for the widening of Georgetown Road, which will enhance safety and serve many businesses as well as residents, and for the Sir Barton underpass, which will serve a rapidly growing part of our community.”

The two-year state highway plan also includes money for the current fiscal year, which started July 1.

Road projects often take years to complete because of planning, designing, acquiring right-of-way and moving utilities before construction can begin.

“We are doing the preliminary work for the next (two year-road budget) to set some of these projects up for discretionary funding that the federal government has created,” Evilia said.

The road projects are not final. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has the ability to audit or make changes to the plan if there are technical and other issues. Beshear, a Democrat, can veto the road plan. The Republican supermajority in both chambers has enough votes to override a veto.