Fayette County

Newtown Pike extension to open Wednesday

Work on the Newtown Pike extension has been completed on schedule, and the street will reopen at 2 p.m. Wednesday, state officials announced Tuesday afternoon.

A public ribbon cutting for Oliver Lewis Way, which was announced Monday as the street's new name, is scheduled for 10 a.m. Sept. 8 at the new bridge over Cox Street, said Natasha Lacy, spokeswoman for District 7 of the state highway department.

Lewis was a black jockey who won the first Kentucky Derby in 1875, on Aristides.

This marks the completion of Phase 4 of the extension project, which runs from Newtown Pike at Main Street to the intersection of Versailles Road and High and Maxwell streets.

However, Phase 4, which was supposed to be the last leg of the project, was promoted to Phase 1 because of economic stimulus money and the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

Andrew Grunwald, a senior municipal engineer for the city, said he has been amazed by all the construction, not just the work on the Newtown project, that has occurred in Lexington during the past year.

"I truly believe that most of the people of Lexington will feel that it was a needed investment in downtown," he said. "And that it's something that everybody in Lexington can benefit from."

Grunwald said he was pleased that crews met their deadline to finish the work on the Newtown Pike extension by Sept. 1.

The recently completed phase, which started in August 2009, was designed to provide easier access to Blue Grass Airport and Keeneland Race Course from the Kentucky Horse Park.

The project received $11 million of the state's stimulus grant and $1 million from the city.

The work should improve traffic flow downtown, reduce traffic congestion and make the area more attractive to bicyclists and pedestrians.

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