Possible fix for high traffic area of I-71 in the works - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Possible fix for high traffic area of I-71 in the works

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky transportation officials want to fix a high-traffic area on I -71 notorious for gridlock, crashes, and detours.

"We would be adding one driving lane in each direction," said Andrea Clifford, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. 

Clifford said the new lanes would run both north and south between the Gene Snyder Freeway and the Crestwood exit to Oldham County. It's a stretch that is roughly five miles long, where the freeway often closes after crashes. 

It's currently only two lanes in each direction: sometimes there's not enough room for emergency crews to work. 

Earlier this year, Oldham County leaders pitched a plan to place warning signs for drivers at entrance ramps. Oldham County Judge Executive David Voegele explained in March, "The plan would give drivers a chance to take an alternate route, or turn around and go home."

KYTC records show roughly 60,000 cars travel the stretch of I-71 to everyday. Road workers say what's really driving this change is more people living in Oldham County commuting into Louisville for work.

"If you do have a crash, and one lane is blocked, or two lanes are blocked, this additional lane would help in that instance," Clifford said. "But the impetus behind this project is a capacity issue, not a crash issue."

Whatever the issue, drivers welcome the change.

"It's a long time you have to sit and wait," said Yvonne Lopez, an Oldham County driver. 

"We would all like to see that sooner rather than later," said driver Howard Ferriell.

Unfortunately, the project isn't scheduled to be completed until 2019 -- but the groundwork is happening now. The state is gathering community input on design, including where and how to build. 

"We want to show everyone the proposals," Clifford said. "It's a little different when you get into Oldham County. There's an area that's what we call 'bifurcated.' It means it's a wooded area, not just a grassy median."

A public hearing on the I-71 expansion project is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 1.

Springdale Community Church

4601 Springdale Road, Louisville, Kentucky. 

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