After almost six years of waiting for construction to begin to fix exit 95 at Boonesborough Road off I-75, drivers are finally seeing work taking place at the congested interchange.
The project was scheduled to begin in 2014 but was put on hold in May 2013 by the former county judge/executive until a decision had been made on how to route the controversial Nicholasville connector.
The engineer estimated the cost of the project to be more than $14 million, but the project was awarded to the Allen Co. Inc. in February of this year with a total cost of $13,675,476.20. According to Natasha Lacy, Highway Department District 7 spokesperson, the project is federally funded.
Construction began on April 3, and according to Lacy, the progress is going well. As of now, the work is on schedule with the original timeline for a completion date estimated to be August next year.
The new exit will have a five-lane overpass as well as expanded entry and exit ramps, according to the plan. It is a part of a bigger six-year plan to reconstruct the exit with a goal to improve safety, provide additional occupational safety, increased capacity at intersections and reduce delay.
When asked about his feelings to finally get the project started, Madison County Judge/Executive Reagan Taylor, who has been involved with the project since his first election in 2014, gave a sigh of relief.
"It is so exciting," he said. "For many years, taxpayers have invested into that northern part of Madison County in infrastructure. There is a state-of-the-art sewer plant. That area has been designed and created for growth, and a big hold back was that exit, so it is nice to get that exit remodeled and make it bigger and better."
More specifically in the project's plans, the construction will relocate Colonel Road and Simpson Lane, which are parallel to the interstate, 800 feet to the other side of the Love's gas station.
"It will be two lanes each direction with turn lanes," Taylor said. "It will redo the ramps a little. (Completion of the project) will potentially allow commerce to want to come there or allow us to house a lot of commerce on that northern end and provide businesses."
The plan noted heavy peak hours in the morning and afternoon with a high volume of large semi trailers accessing the exit for truck stops, which increases the congestion.
The project will include more traffic points away from ramps to improve traffic operations through the interchange area, which will improve traffic capacity and safety.
Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter @TaylorSixRR.