Intersection blues: Bypass may relieve some, but not all headaches

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By Nathan L. McBroom

With traffic congestion and accidents on the rise through Shelbyville on U.S. 60, state and local officials are looking toward to the completion of the bypass to help relieve traffic problems on that busy stretch of road.

Andrea Clifford, public information officer for district 5 of the Kentucky Department of Transportation, said the bypass will significantly reduce congestion through town - particularly during the morning and afternoon rush hours.

The bypass will extend 4.5 miles from the intersection of U.S. 60 and Taylorsville road to K.Y. 55 north near Bellview Road. The project is estimated cost close to $47 million.

Clifford said construction is on schedule to be completed by August of 2009.

Due to an increase in Shelbyville's population and industry, currently intersections at U.S. 60 and Taylorsville Road and U.S. 60 and Smithfield Road give motorists the most problems during the high traffic times.

The intersection at Ky. 55 South and U. S. 60 is especially problematic. However, according to a map sent to the Sentinel-News, the intersection of U.S. 60 and K.Y. 55 will look different once the bypass is finished.

Traveling North on K.Y. 55, there will be a left turn lane, two through lanes and right turn lane to U. S 60. Also there will be no through lane for motorists traveling on to U.S. 60 eastbound.

Coming westbound on U.S. 60 toward Simpsonville, there will be a left turn lane, one through lane and one right turn lane onto the bypass.

Going south on the bypass there will be a left turn onto Eastbound U.S. 60, two through lanes, but no dedicated right turn lane - though drivers can turn right.

Coming east from Simpsonville toward Shelbyville on U.S. 60, there will be one right turn lane, one through lane and one left turn lane.

While the bypass may help with congestion problems, it will likely not help with other issues that motorist face when traveling the road.

Due to confusion among some local drivers about how to use the merging lane in the middle of U.S. 60 from the Shelby County Fairgrounds to the intersection with Taylorsville Road local law enforcement officers said the stretch of road is a common site for accidents.

Ryan Libke, executive director of the Triple S Planning and Zoning Commission, said the lanes are for left turns only, not a merge lane for vehicles entering traffic.

Libke, who called these lanes "suicide lane," said drivers should learn to use the lane properly.

At the U.S. 60 and Taylorsville Road intersection, the problem is increased when westbound drivers on U.S. 60 enter the turning lane toward the interstate too early. Drivers often get caught behind drivers turning into Walgreen's, which causes confusion and traffic to back up.

Libke said the turning lane does not start until the break in the lane stripping.

"If you get in it prematurely that is not the location for the turn lane," he said.