Thanks to more than $500,000 in state money, a long-awaited project to build sidewalks along Tates Creek Road in south Lexington will be completed by next spring.
Construction began on the project in mid-August after years of delays and more than a decade of discussion. Because of higher-than-expected costs, city officials were concerned that they might not be able to complete the 1.6 miles in sidewalks from near McMeekin Place to the Lansdowne Shops. The $556,000 in state money — announced last month — will ensure that the $1.7 million project will be completed, city officials said Thursday. The remaining money will come from local and federal funding.
"For far too long, there's been a dangerous footpath instead of sidewalks along Tates Creek," Mayor Jim Gray said Thursday. "Thanks to Gov. (Steve) Beshear and these funds, pedestrians and especially people with disabilities will now have a real path instead of a dirt path to walk on."
Sidewalks have been completed from McMeekin Place to just past Alumni Drive. In addition, Alumni Drive, Albany Road and Dove Run Road will get audible pedestrian signals. Concrete pads will be added for shelters and benches, making public transportation more convenient, city officials have said.
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The road is a major artery in south Lexington, connecting to the University of Kentucky, Commonwealth Stadium and the Arboretum.
During construction, inbound traffic lanes on Tates Creek will remain open during the morning rush hour. Outbound lanes will be open during the evening rush hour.
Susan Straub, a spokeswoman for Gray, said the construction will continue this fall. If parts of the project are not completed before winter, they will be finished next spring.
Urban County Councilman Bill Farmer, whose district includes parts of Tates Creek Road, said Thursday that the sidewalk project will transform the road into a pedestrian-friendly corridor.
"This project is so much more exciting than the mere term 'sidewalk' would cover," Farmer said. "Lexington is highly interested in active lifestyles. People are telling me they can't wait to use them."