The intersection of South Limestone and the Avenue of Champions reopened Thursday a week ahead of schedule and in time for the Aug. 26 opening of the University of Kentucky.
The busy crossing was closed for several weeks as part of a larger project to bury power lines, widen sidewalks, fix sewers and create bike lanes on South Limestone.
South Limestone remains closed to through traffic from the Avenue of Champions to Vine Street, but northbound motorists on South Limestone will be able to turn right on the Avenue of Champions or left onto Winslow. Westbound motorists on the Avenue of Champions will be able to cross the intersection to Winslow Street. Winslow will revert to a one-way street.
"The reopening of this intersection is an enormous step forward, but we all know that there's still a long way to go on the South Limestone project," Mayor Jim Newberry said. "We continue to work very closely with the contractor to do everything possible to move this project along quickly, to be responsive to the concerns of residents, business owners and property owners on South Limestone, and to focus on ways to minimize the impact on traffic."
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The Limestone project is part of Phase 1 of a Streetscape Master Plan, which also includes changes along Vine and Main streets and in Cheapside Park. The work on Limestone, between Avenue of Champions and Vine Street, is expected to take about a year, but conditions and closings will change frequently.
The work prompted an unsuccessful lawsuit by the South Limestone Business Owners Association, which asked that work be stopped temporarily on South Limestone. The group contended that the closing of South Limestone was poorly planned and that their businesses would be irreparably damaged.
Newberry thanked motorists for adjusting to traffic changes and urged citizens to continue to support business in the construction zone.
UK has made plans to use the curbside lane on the northern side of the Avenue of Champions during the next two weekends, as students move into nearby dormitories. Lexington police will direct traffic, but the intersection will remain open to motorists.
Citizens can get updates on the South Limestone project online at www.southlimestoneprogress.com. Citizens with questions may call LexCall 311 (425-2255).