WILMORE — State transportation officials have selected a preferred alternative to reconfigure the Y intersection of Ky. 29 and U.S. 68 north of Wilmore.
The alternative would bring Ky. 29 between a Shell station and the Turfmor Motel so that the state road comes into U.S. 68 at a right angle.
Engineers with the state Department of Highways' District 7 office in Lexington want to hear what the public thinks about that idea at a meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Wesley Village in Wilmore.
The intersection project is relatively small in comparison to other road projects in Central Kentucky. So District 7 personnel were surprised when 140 people showed up for an April 2014 public meeting about the intersection.
At that time, state officials were hoping to avoid bringing Ky. 29 between the Shell station and the Turfmor Motel.
"Whatever we do on this project will affect the operation of that station," said project engineer Casey Smith.
The aim of the reconfiguration is to rebuild the intersection into a 90-degree "T" so motorists can more easily see vehicles approaching on U.S. 68.
The intersection is a dangerous spot. Flashing lights warn drivers to be careful, but motorists headed north on Ky. 29 have to crane their necks at a severe left angle to see whether vehicles are approaching from the west.
From 2000 to 2014, Kentucky State Police data show there were 54 accidents in the vicinity of the intersection, Smith said. A dozen of those accidents resulted in injuries, he said.
At least one person was injured June 26 in a head-on collision between a car and a pickup.
Average daily traffic counts in 2012 showed 5,000 vehicles on Ky. 29 from the intersection south, 4,600 on U.S. 68 west of the Marathon station, and 9,400 on U.S. 68 north toward Lexington.
Another alternative would reconfigure Ky. 29 so it would become a four-way intersection with Cardinal Lane, a residential street on the west side of U.S. 68.
Another option would put the T intersection west of the Shell station. That would mean going across a corner of 175-acre Roseglade Farm.
To the surprise of project manager Ananais Calvin III and other engineers, many residents at the 2014 public meeting seemed to like the idea of putting Ky. 29 between the gas station and the motel. But now that the state has that as a preferred alternative, Calvin wants to hear what people say.
"I really want them to tell me what they think," Calvin said. "What do we need to do?"
Scotty Easterling, owner of the Turfmor Motel, could not be reached for comment last week, and the manager of the Shell station declined comment.
The state's recommended six-year road plan has money for the intersection's reconstruction. The purchase of rights of way will cost $1.5 million; utilities relocation will cost $600,000; and construction will cost $3 million. But Calvin said actual construction probably won't start until 2016.