Tentative plans to close Harrodsburg Road at New Circle Road throughout the weekend of Aug. 12 remain on track as workers reconstruct the often-jammed intersection, state transportation officials said Tuesday.
If weather permits, Harrodsburg Road and all ramps at that interchange with New Circle will be shut down from Pasadena Drive to Beaumont Centre from 7 p.m. Aug. 12 to 5 a.m. Aug. 15.
"There will be no traffic between those two streets," said Tony McGaha, project supervisor for Highway District 7 of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
That section of road is traveled by 35,000 vehicles a day and has the highest crash rate of any major road in the city.
The project is one of only a handful in the country — and the first in Kentucky — to use what's called the double crossover diamond or diverging diamond design, which requires motorists to cross over and drive on the left side of the road.
During the shutdown, the entire interchange will be resurfaced and re-striped to accommodate the double crossover diamond traffic pattern. Also, new signs and traffic signals will be installed.
When Harrodsburg Road reopens Aug. 15, the new traffic pattern will be in place.
"That is the schedule right now barring anything unforeseen happening," said Steve Farmer, project manager for highway construction projects in four Central Kentucky counties.
If rain is predicted, work will be postponed until the following weekend.
"They don't want a chance of anything happening," McGaha said. "The work is pretty sensitive to weather."
Crews are working on the project 24 hours a day, McGaha said. Lane closures are happening only at night and on weekends.
Officials say the unusual traffic pattern will improve left turns onto and off New Circle by eliminating turns that require cars to cross in front of oncoming traffic.
After the road is reconfigured, work will shift to widening Harrodsburg Road, Alexandria Drive and Pasadena Drive to install additional turn lanes.
Once that's done, it's just a matter of final "dress-up touches," McGaha said, including new sidewalks and a shared-use pedestrian and bicycle path on both sides of Harrodsburg Road from Pasadena Drive to Beaumont Centre.
Stacy Robinson, co-owner of Sahara Mediterranean Cuisine in the Beaumont shopping area, said the construction "has been the talk of the summer. It's absolutely gridlocked out here."
When construction finishes, Robinson said, she hopes traffic will flow more smoothly.
Nearby, at the Beaumont Branch of the Lexington Public Library, branch manager Karen Davis said visitor and circulation numbers have been consistent in June and July.
As for construction, "I've only had one person call and ask me what time it started at night."