Construction on a $5 million realignment of Alumni Drive between Tates Creek and Nicholasville roads is set to begin this week.
Alumni Drive will be closed to through traffic beginning Sunday until Aug. 17.
Access to the Arboretum and the Lexington Senior Citizens Center will remain open throughout the project, city and University of Kentucky officials said Monday during a groundbreaking ceremony.
The university plans to put in two roundabouts on the well-traveled connector road that allows access to Commonwealth Stadium, other UK sports fields and the Arboretum.
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Other changes include moving College Way Drive, a connector road to Alumni Drive, slightly to the west, and additional bicycle and pedestrian access. There also will be new entrances to parking lots for Commonwealth Stadium and UK athletic fields.
Both roundabouts — sometimes called traffic circles — will replace intersections and stops at College Way and University Drive. About 18,000 to 20,000 cars travel Alumni Drive daily, engineers on the project have previously said.
"Once this project is complete, all travelers along Alumni Drive — whether on foot, on bicycles, or in vehicles — will enjoy a friendlier, safer trip," said Gov. Steve Beshear, who attended Monday's ceremony. "Like many of our road improvements, this project will improve access and safety but will also encourage citizens to enjoy nearby recreational spaces."
The university — which owns that section of Alumni Drive — designed the project. It was paid for through state transportation money.
The project is scheduled to be completed in time for UK football season, which begins Aug. 30. UK officials briefed the Urban County Council about the project in March.
University officials said that although Alumni Drive will be closed to through traffic for the next several months, people who need to get to destinations along Alumni Drive can still do so.
Here's a breakdown of how the Alumni Drive reconfiguration will affect traffic:
■ Access to the Arboretum will be maintained from Tates Creek Road.
■ Access to the Child Development Center of the Bluegrass, Shawneetown, and Greg Page apartments will be maintained via a temporary road beginning on University Drive near the Orange Lot entrance.
■ There will be no access to University Court and Commonwealth Court directly from Alumni Drive during construction. The road connecting University Drive and Commonwealth Court has already been widened to accommodate two-way traffic.
■ Access to the UK orange lot will be via University Drive and Cooper Drive.
■ Access to the Senior Citizens Center will be through its current entrance on Alumni Drive from Nicholasville Road.
■ Access to UK's softball and soccer complex will be via the current entrance on College Way.