After nearly a decade of delays and more than two years of construction, a key connector between Georgetown and Leestown roads will officially open Monday.
The extension of Citation Boulevard in northwest Lexington — part of a larger project that includes the widening of Leestown Road — will open to motorists at 3 p.m.
Mayor Jim Gray and other public officials will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony near the Leestown Road intersection at 2 p.m.
The Citation Boulevard extension and Leestown Road widening project will cost $38 million. The remaining work on the widening of Leestown Road is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 1, said Natasha Lacy, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
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Traffic signals — which recently were placed at Citation Boulevard intersections with Buck Lane and Mercer Road — will remain on temporary flash until 3 p.m. Monday, state transportation officials said Friday. Transportation officials urged motorists to use caution on the new roadway. Part of some lanes on Citation will remain closed Monday while minor work on the road continues, Lacy said.
The new portion of Citation will extend 2.45 miles west from Jaggie Fox Way to Leestown Road at Alexandria Drive.
The route will provide a safer alternative to the two-lane country roads that many residents travel daily to cross the busy western section of Lexington, city officials said.
"This extension will provide greater connectivity in the west end and easier access to the interstate," said Councilwoman Shevawn Akers, who represents the Leestown Road corridor. "It will also relieve a lot of congestion on arterials like Mercer, Sandersville and Spurr roads."
Jim Capillo is president of Meadowthorpe Neighborhood Association and a major at the Fayette County Detention Center on Old Frankfort Pike. Capillo said the opening of Citation Road would be a boon for jail employees and all neighborhoods in the congested Leestown Road corridor.
"I have been eagerly anticipating it," Capillo said. "We have a number of jail officers who can now bypass the interstate."
Population on the city's west side has exploded during the past 15 years, he said.
"It grew before the infrastructure grew," Capillo said.
The Citation and Lees town widening projects have been a long time coming.
The first phase of Citation Boulevard, connecting Newtown Pike to Georgetown Road, was completed in the late 1990s.
A lack of funding stopped the road from reaching Lees town for more than a decade.
Although it began as a federally funded project, the extension was converted to a state project in 2006. It wasn't until 2012 that the state allocated $26.9 million for the project. A combination of state and federal funding and $1.5 million from the regional metropolitan planning organization make up the total $38 million, state transportation officials have said.