U.S. 60, one of Central Kentucky's busiest traffic arteries, will be resurfaced this year.
That means the patience of weekday commuters will be tested in the coming months as they navigate fewer lanes, shifting lanes and lowered speed limits between Lexington, Versailles and Frankfort.
Work will continue through the spring and fall meets at Keeneland Race Course, which means motorists might want to leave the house a little earlier to get to the track on time.
Two stretches of 60 — a 6.4-mile section in Woodford and Fayette counties and a 7-mile section in Woodford County — will be resurfaced this year, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says.
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Both projects will mean breaking up the concrete and then coming back with a final surface of asphalt, said Steve Farmer, branch manager of the Department of Highways District 7 office in Lexington. Transportation Cabinet officials say they have no preference between concrete and asphalt.
"Each one has its advantages and disadvantages," said Lexington section supervisor Tony McGaha. "We weren't partial to either one."
Work starts Monday to resurface 60 from Martha Layne Collins Blue Grass Parkway in Woodford County to New Circle Road in Fayette County. L-M Asphalt Partners was awarded that contract, which has a total cost of more than $20.7 million.
The six-lane section of 60 from Rice Road (Ky. 1969) to New Circle will be reduced to four lanes — two lanes in each direction. (When traffic volumes are low on nights and weekends, this might be reduced to one lane in each direction.)
The four-lane section of 60 from Rice Road to the parkway will be reduced to two lanes — one lane in each direction.
Between 38,000 and 42,000 vehicles travel U.S. 60 each day, according to average daily traffic counts.
All the work on the parkway-to-New Circle section is supposed to be finished by Dec. 1.
"This is not just a simple fix," McGaha said. "This is a full-blown, complete rehab, top to bottom. It's going to be a brand new road when we're done. It's not going to be any wider but it is going to be completely new pavement from the very bottom to the very top."
In addition, a traffic light will be put at the entrance to Westmoreland subdivision, which residents have sought for years so they could make a left turn exit onto U.S. 60 more safely, McGaha said.
The other U.S. 60 project will resurface 7 miles from U.S. 62 in Woodford County to the Franklin County line. A joint venture of H.G. Mays Corp and Mago Construction LLC had the low bid of $13.19 million for that project.
That work will begin in March and is supposed to be finished by Oct. 31.
Commuters might want to consider Interstate 64 or U.S. 421 (Leestown Road) as alternate routes. Double fines will be in place for violations that occur within the work zones.
McGaha asks patience from motorists. He said the work will be done in an accelerated schedule to get everything finished during one construction season.
"This road needs to be fixed. It's going to be a significant traffic impact, especially during the Keeneland meets," he said. "But it's got to be done. It's got to be fixed."