The University of Kentucky is planning a redesign of Alumni Drive between Tates Creek and Nicholasville roads to include two roundabouts instead of stop signs.
Construction probably will begin in mid-April, with completion scheduled in early September, university officials told the Urban County Council during a Tuesday work session.
The university owns the road and will pay for the $5 million project using state money.
In addition to the roundabouts, UK is proposing other changes to the well-traveled connector that allows access to Commonwealth Stadium and the Arboretum.
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Those changes include moving College Way Drive, a connector road to Alumni Drive, slightly to the west, and additional bike and pedestrian access. There also will be new entrances into 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.
"It's a very fast-track project," said Brad Johnson of CDM Smith, an engineering design firm hired by UK for the project. "It's in the process of being bid. They are looking to mobilize in the next month."
The goal is for much of the construction to take place over the summer — when UK is out.
"We will be closing parts of Alumni Drive during the summer," Johnson said. "We will always maintain access to the Arboretum."
People will be able to go to the Arboretum on Alumni Drive via Tates Creek Road, Johnson said.
There is also a child care center and an apartment building along Alumni Drive that people will continue to have access to during construction, he said.
"The goal is to have the project done and the road open by the first of September," Johnson said.
Much of the discussion during Tuesday's council meeting centered on the roundabouts — particularly how they work on university campuses.
There are only two roundabouts in Lexington — one on Reynolds Road and another on Old Frankfort Pike.
Roundabouts have worked well on university campuses, Johnson said.
"It's really used to avoid signalization," he said. Roundabouts keep traffic moving in one direction around a central island.
Several council members said the university needed to do a better job coordinating plans with the city — particularly since Tates Creek and Nicholasville roads are controlled and maintained by the city.
Council member Richard Moloney said he thought the university was trying to keep Lexington residents off of its connector roads by doing so many construction projects.
Mary Vosevich, a vice president at UK, said that was not true. The university is trying to improve traffic flow, she said.
"The Alumni Drive project is really to keep traffic moving," Vosevich said. Stop signs and lights back up traffic — roundabouts keep traffic moving.
Still, council member Fred Brown said the university needed to do a better job working with the city on improving traffic in, around and through its campus.
"We need traffic flow," Brown said. "Going forward, I hope the university has us more involved."
Vosevich said the university was undertaking a new transportation, mobility and parking plan and was working with the city on that plan. The university is trying to decrease the amount of cars on campus. This year, students who didn't get a parking tag were given a free bicycle.
"We are looking at how we can reduce the number of cars that are coming to" UK, Vosevich said.