Summer Slowdown

Carrollton's Hwy. 227 to be
widened this summer to three lanes

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

CARROLLTON, Ky. (February 2003) – This summer will be a long one for residents and commuters who travel Carrollton’s Hwy. 227 corridor between Hwy. 42 and I-71.
Beginning as early as March, Kentucky State Transportation officials plan to widen the Hwy. 227 and Hwy. 42 intersection in downtown Carrollton where semi-trucks have had a longstanding difficulty of negotiating the turn. The project also calls for the widening of Hwy. 227 to a three lane roadway, which in the long run will be good but in the short term a traffic nightmare.
“It’s going to be a long summer, but this is something we need badly,” said Carroll County Judge-Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson during a January update of the road project to the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce.
In 2000, Kentucky Gov. Paul E. Patton revealed his Six-Year Highway Plan to widen, rebuild and repave many Kentucky roadways. The plan also called for the repainting or replacing of many interstate bridges. The plan includes 1,360 projects statewide.

HWY 227

Carrollton's Hwy. 227 looking south.

The Carrollton project is expected to be complete on the Hwy. 227 and Hwy. 42 intersection by November, with construction work done by Ohio Valley Asphalt of Carrollton, said planning engineer Kevin Rust of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
The construction plan for Hwy. 227 is actually three projects all rolled into one, said Sam Beverage, the transportation cabinet’s Chief District 6 Engineer, which encompasses Carroll and Gallatin counties.
The first phase has already begun at the I-71 interchange, where workers are trying to improve access points at the interchange. The southbound left turn lane is being lengthened at the interchange.
Phase II begins at the downtown intersection of Hwys. 42 and 227. Part of the land at the intersection of Hwys. 227 and 42 had to be purchased from Rite Aid Pharmacy and a former used car lot to make room for the improvements. The project includes curbs and sidewalks on the south side of Highland Avenue, extending to Cartmell Elementary School.
After that work is complete, construction will begin around August on a three-lane section of Hwy. 227 all the way to the interstate, Beverage said. The new Hwy. 227 will include a left turn lane. An existing railroad will need to be removed from the area on Hwy. 227 near Hometown Pizza.
The entire project is expected to cost more than $1 million. “All money comes from state or federal dollars,” Rust said.
Chamber of Commerce president Greg Goff said the chamber has been pushing for this construction for quite some time. He cited the area as dangerous and very much in need of improvement.
“During the lunch hour and rush hour, traffic is often at a standstill,” he said. He said he hopes the end result will increase traffic flow more smoothly through the area and “open the door to more business.”
Joseph Graves, executive director of the Carroll County Community Development Corp., agrees with Goff. “This should have been done 10 years ago.”
The Hwy. 227 widening project was supposed to have taken place last year, officials said. Tomlinson said there were certain right-of-way acquisition issues that held up the project.
He cited the unsteady economy and present world conflicts as another reason for prolonging the project. “There are only so many dollars for the federal government to use,” he said.
“We’ve done quite a bit of lobbying to get something done out there,” he said, adding that many local citizens and civic groups have been supportive of this road project.
Turning in to the many restaurants and hotels that sit just off of the interstate exit, for instance, will be much easier once the first phase is completed, as will turning in to the state park or any of the other businesses.
Currently, making these turns can be hazardous for motorists because it involves sitting in the middle of the right lane until oncoming traffic clears.
“There is a tremendous amount of truck traffic along this route,” said Graves. “The current alignment does not allow (drivers) to make turns easily.”
Bart Nofsinger, who manages the VF Factory Outlet at the Butler Outlet Mall on Hwy. 227, said he is concerned that prolonged construction may hurt his business.
At January’s chamber meeting, Nofsinger voiced his concern over a lack of information on the project. He wanted specific answers to questions about exactly when the project would start, how long would it take, and what it would entail.
“Most of my business is traffic from I-71,” he said. Although he may get more local clientele during the weekend, he wants to keep Hwy. 227 free from long construction holdups during the summer.
“I think in the long-haul, it will help, but in the short-haul, it will hurt,” he said.
Graves has a more positive outlook on the project. He doesn’t see the construction as an obstacle to local business because, he says, “it will be done in sections. Not the entire length at one time.”
Beverage said the state is considering installing a traffic signal in the future at the Hwy. 36 intersection of Hwy. 227. This would be a separate project from the current one, and no designs have been drawn up yet.
Rust said other road projects in the county include spot improvements from Carrollton to the Markland Dam in Gallatin County and bridge replacement
along Hwy. 389. Graves said that 56 percent of the workforce coming into the county use I-71 and Hwy. 227. It will cause some delays and a lot of headaches, but as Goff said, “It will take patience on everybody’s part.”

• For more information on the Six-Year Plan, go to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s website at: www.kytc.state.ky.us.

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