Urban County Government and Fayette County Public Schools officials are expected to meet Wednesday to iron out traffic concerns the city wants settled before construction of a new high school off Winchester Road may resume.
The city issued a stop-work order on Aug. 12 after discovering that a plan review had not been completed for the high school even though construction had begun.
As part of that plan review, different city departments must sign off on key parts of the plan — including traffic engineering. Traffic engineering had not approved the plan because it needed more information about how students would access the high school, which will have a main entrance on Winchester Road and an access road that leads to Sir Barton Way, city officials said Monday.
Derek Paulsen, the city's commissioner of planning, preservation and development, said city officials expected that those questions about traffic flow would be resolved at the meeting Wednesday. All sides hope a permit can be issued soon and construction may resume, he said.
"These traffic issues have to be addressed for safety reasons," Paul sen said.
Schools spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said the district's contractor had received a call from the city Thursday saying the final building permit was ready to be picked up, but "when they got there to pick it up, the city said, 'Oh we changed our mind.'"
The city wants to ensure that if more traffic is going to be turning from Sir Barton Way onto the new access road to the school there is sufficient capacity in turn lanes on Sir Barton Way — which leads into the Hamburg shopping area, one of the city's busiest commercial areas.
Deffendall said Sir Barton Way "is not even on our property."
She said access to the school was from Meeting Street, the new road from Sir Barton Way.
"They're looking for us to help resolve concerns they have about getting onto our site," said Mary Wright, senior director for operations and development for Fayette County schools.
While Wright said the district had hoped that those concerns could have been worked out by now, "we have full expectation that within 72 hours everybody's going to be on the same page."
Traffic is a major problem around schools — particularly high schools where there are a lot of student drivers, Paulsen said. For example, traffic can back up near Paul Laurence Dunbar High School because it is on Man o' War Boulevard. There can be similar backups on Richmond Road when students and parents are trying to make left turns to get to Henry Clay High School.
"We think these issues need to be addressed now," Paulsen said.
Work was going on at the site Monday.
City officials said some limited site preparation such as grading is permitted even when a stop-work order is in place.
Deffendall said the district had received permits for grading and plumbing at the site, and that was the only work being done.
"We have tried to restrict our activities to things that we already know we have permission to do," Wright said.
D.W. Wilburn has a $62 million contract with the district to build the school.
The total cost of the school is expected to be more than $81 million. The school, scheduled to open in fall of 2017, is being built on 65 acres at 2000 Winchester Road. It would serve about 1,800 students.
The school will be Lexington's sixth full-service public high school.