Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Governor Fletcher Breaks Ground on Newtown Pike Project in Lexington

Press Release Date:  Thursday, May 10, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Doug Hogan

Project represents $11 million investment in city’s transportation network

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher, joined by state and local leaders, today broke ground in Lexington for a project to reconstruct two miles of Newtown Pike – already heavily traveled and destined to be a major artery for athletes and visitors to the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

The $11 million project will increase safety with minimum impact to farms, businesses and residences.

“This is a perfect example of the efforts we’re undertaking to provide much-needed transportation improvements while at the same time being sensitive to the aesthetic significance of Kentucky’s beautiful landscape, as well as our residents and businesses,” said Governor Fletcher. “We are continually working to improve the safety and efficiency of Kentucky’s highway network while balancing community concerns, environmental impact and interruption to travelers.” 

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) Secretary Bill Nighbert said Kentucky is setting the pace for environmentally sensitive highway projects and those known as design-build, in which design and construction occur in concert for quicker completion.

“We are achieving an extremely high level of efficiency with our design-build projects and this project is an example of how it’s done,” said Secretary Nighbert. “This is a marquee project for the commonwealth.”

The $11 million project will include widening the route to two 11-foot-wide lanes with 8-foot-wide shoulders (including 3 feet of grass shoulder). Drainage improvements will also be included in the projects, as will a bridge replacement, which will include a cut-stone veneer to enhance appearance. The curve at the renowned thoroughbred auction firm Fasig-Tipton Co. will be straightened and the dry stone masonry fence along property owned by the University of Kentucky will be rebuilt. Extensive landscaping, including 146 trees, will be incorporated into the project.

“The University of Kentucky is pleased to be a partner in the development of the Newtown Pike project and excited about the improved connection from our campus front door to the Coldstream Research Campus and Main Chance Farm,” said UK President Lee T. Todd Jr.  “This new gateway to our community will be safer and more efficient for the increasing traffic on the north side. This project is an excellent example of local, state and federal officials working together and I'm delighted to see it under way.”

During the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, Newtown Pike will serve as a main artery for shuttles transporting attendees between Lexington hotels, designated parking lots (Coldstream and Fasig-Tipton) and the Kentucky Horse Park. This route, paired with the nearby interstate, will help reduce congestion during the games.

“The Fayette County delegation is proud to have supported this improvement to a very important gateway into Lexington,” said Sen. Ernesto Scorsone (D-Lexington). “In 2010 this part of the state will be on the world’s stage. Lexington will benefit from this project at that time. However, these improvements will long remain after 2010 to the great benefit of our community.”

“Kentucky is richly blessed with beautiful scenic landscape and historic features,” concluded Rep. Charlie Hoffman (D-Georgetown).  “We need to be creative in our development efforts and be sensitive to the aesthetic beauty we’re all so proud of. What a tremendous team effort this has been, the result of which I think will be a template for future projects.”

Before the project was finalized, KYTC officials met with local residents and community leaders to get their ideas, many of which were incorporated into the plan. Workers are expected to complete the project in November.

Governor unveils LEC signs to assist motorists in heavy traffic areas

Also announced at today’s ceremony is a pilot project to replace current street signs at 47 intersections throughout Fayette County with new Light Emitting Capacitor (LEC) signs in preparation for the FEI games. The illuminated signs, developed by CeeLite, will be placed at high-accident intersections along routes expected to carry heavy traffic during the games, including:

  • Nicholasville Road and South Limestone from Man O’ War Boulevard to Main Street;
  • Main Street from South Limestone to the intersection of Newtown Pike and Cox Street;
  • South Upper Street from Main Street to South Limestone; and
  • Newtown Pike from Main Street to Ironworks Pike.

“Kentucky is leading the way in incorporating the newest technology to make our roadways safer,” Governor Fletcher said. “Providing visible signs in advance of an intersection will give drivers time to make adjustments, decrease the potential for accidents, and reduce congestion, especially when traveling at night.”

LEC technology was recently named one of TIME Magazine’s “Best Inventions of 2006” and Electric Products Magazine’s “2006 Product of the Year.” The initial estimate for the project is $220,935.

“We're expecting the world to come to Lexington in 2010, and these improvements will help us prepare for our visitors, while protecting our world-class landscape,” Mayor Jim Newberry added.  “I appreciate Governor Fletcher’s commitment to the games and to Lexington.”

Governor presents funding for road resurfacing

Also during this afternoon’s event, Governor Fletcher presented local officials with a ceremonial check in the amount of $3 million to resurface portions of various roads.  The KYTC state funds will be used to pay for resurfacing in the following locations:

  • Buck Lane from Greendale Road to the pavement change, 0.44 mile
  • Russell Cave Road from Park Avenue to New Circle Road, 0.34 mile
  • Angliana Avenue from Versailles Road to Curry Avenue Broadway, 0.63 mile
  • Alexandria Drive from the railroad tracks to Leestown Road, 0.48 mile
  • Lowry Lane (west) from Regency Road to Nicholasville Road, 0.35 mile
  • Nandino Boulevard from Rushwood Court to Majuan Road, 0.68 mile
  • Mercer Road from Greendale to Georgetown Road, 1.85 miles
  • Man-o-War Boulevard from Harrodsburg Road to the entrance to Man-o-War Golf driving range, 2.21 miles
  • Eastland Drive from Loudon Avenue to New Circle Road, 0.70 mile
  • Industry Road from Winchester Road to New Circle Road, 0.93 mile

Over the past two years, the amounts of money local governments have received from the state to make improvements to local highway networks is greater than at any other time in the history of the Commonwealth.