Longtime Lexington Councilman Bill Farmer Jr. has had his eared chewed off about the condition of Tates Creek Road for years.
Farmer, whose district includes one side of Tates Creek Road, said the condition of the major corridor from Alumni Drive to downtown has long been a top complaint. Farmer also has a jewelry store on nearby Euclid Avenue.
“It was double or triple” the amount of complaints the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Councilman said he typically received on other roads in his district.
But there was little Farmer or the city could do about it.
Up until this year, Tates Creek Road was a state road and the state oversaw its paving. As part of a complex road swap with the state earlier this year, Lexington got control of Tates Creek Road from New Circle through downtown.
On Friday, the city started repaving a section from Hart Road to Montclair Drive, which means a stretch of pot-hole patched road in front of Morton Middle School and Cassidy Elementary will be repaved before Fayette County Public Schools start school in mid-August, said Rob Allen, deputy director of streets and roads for the city of Lexington.
Weather permitting, it will take two weeks to complete the project. The road will remain open to traffic with some lane closures, he said.
“Because it is a residential area, we could not do the work at night,” Allen said.
Crews started with the center turn lane on Friday.
Allen said a combination of factors led to the deterioration of the road over time. Both Fayette County school buses and Lextran buses use the road. It’s a main corridor into town. Also, there has been utility work in the area over the years. Utilities are required to restore the road back to its original condition after completing work underground, but the number of times the road is torn up and replaced also creates problems over time, Allen said.
When it was a state road, the city repaired potholes as part of an agreement between the city and the state.
“We would repair a pothole in the morning and then come back in the afternoon and there was another pothole,” Allen said of the stretch in front of Morton Middle School.
But now the city has to pay to maintain and pave the road. That section of Tates Creek from Montclair to Hart will cost more than $400,000 to pave, Allen said.
Farmer said the city made the repaving of the road a top priority.
“This is the first paving project of the new fiscal year,” Farmer said. The new budget year began July 1.
Still, people in a hurry should avoid the area, Allen said.
“People should seek alternative routes during rush hour or if you need to get somewhere in a hurry,” Allen said. “Traffic will be maintained but a much slower speed.”