NICHOLASVILLE — Initial plans for the long-awaited east Nicholasville bypass were announced Monday, with the goal of making some residents' commutes shorter.
The project will be built in three sections and span 7.4 miles. Once finished, a four-lane route will complete the loop around Nicholasville and connect to the U.S. 27 West bypass, known as the Nicholasville bypass.
At U.S. 27 and the Nicholasville bypass, a single point diamond interchange will be constructed to help traffic flow.
"With new and continued development, it is critical to meet and keep pace with the infrastructure demands of a growing economy," Gov. Steve Beshear said Monday at a new conference at the Jessamine County Chamber of Commerce. "This project will improve mobility and safety and at the same time provide a much-needed link between Nicholasville, Lexington and surrounding communities."
This fall, the state Transportation Cabinet is expected to seek bids for the first section, beginning at Ky. 39 and extending southeast to U.S. 27 just south of Nicholasville for 2.7 miles. It is expected to cost $16 million and open to traffic by late 2016 or spring 2017.
The Kentucky Highway Plan has not entirely funded the remaining sections. The second section, going 1.9 miles from Ky. 39 to Ky. 169, will cost about $13 million. The third section, from Ky. 169 to the Nicholasville bypass and including the diamond interchange and the last 2.8 miles of the bypass, will cost $38 million.
State Rep. Russ Meyer's involvement with the project dates to the late 1990s, he said. But since then others have made the project possible.
"It's a team effort," Meyer said. "A lot of people are involved in it, and it's an effort that is for the people."
Upon completion of the new bypass, traffic congestion is expected to decrease on Ky. 39, Ky. 169 and the existing bypass. Wider lanes will be created on the new bypass for safety.
Meyer hopes the bypass will lead to more jobs and commerce.
"This project is going to shape our community for the future," he said. "... I think it's going to be beneficial to not only Jessamine County but to Central Kentucky."
HDR Inc. of Lexington and HMB Professional Engineers Inc. of Frankfort designed the project.