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Road issues continue to plague mall area

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Large trucks are running up on the curb to make turn from Buck Creek onto Veechdale; state officials say change needed but will wait until after opening

By Lisa King

As the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass prepares to open next week, another issue with the newly designed roads has officials again reassessing the situation.

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Even now, with all the lanes open and three new traffic lights in operation, large trucks are having trouble navigating the turn from Buck Creek Road onto the new Veechdale Road, which is just south of the 364,000 square foot outlet center that sits on the southwest corner of Buck Creek Road and Interstate 64.

The turn appears to be too narrow, causing trucks to have to cut the corner short and drive over the curb and into the grassy area outside the newly opened Culver’s Restaurant, which sits on the corner.

The issue is similar to recently corrected problem that on Veechdale Road at the back of the mall, where large trucks couldn’t make a turn without cutting into oncoming traffic because the road was too narrow where Veechdale crosses the railroad tracks.

But while that problem came to light just after the construction was finished last fall, this new issue was recently discovered once all the lanes were opened.

Minnis said he had spoken to managers at Culvers, which opened this week at the intersection, who told him that some large trucks have been having trouble turning there.

“They have to turn wide to make that turn and the trailer goes over on the grassy area between the sidewalk and the road,” he said.

Minnis said he has conferred with transportation officials about the problem.

“They already know, we had a meeting yesterday,” he said. “They had already received a call on it and are checking on it.”

Andrea Clifford, spokesperson for the Transportation Cabinet, said that the project engineer for the Buck Creek/Veechdale widening project has been aware of the problem for the past several days.

“They have had some discussions with Culvers recently about the right turn from 1848 [Buck Creek] onto 1399 [Veechdale],” she said.

Clifford said that although the road was built to conform to highway specifications, it still might have to be modified.

“The trucks are making that turn kind of tight, and they’re running over the curb and onto the edge of the sidewalk. We’ve reviewing the possibility of moving that curb back.”

Clifford said a decision would not be made by the time the mall opens Thursday.

Jason Behnke, owner of Culvers, whose store just opened Monday, said he has been distressed over the situation for the past week since he laid down sod.

“You know, I get this nice landscaped property done, and it’s destroyed it, and it’s destroyed my irrigation system,” he said. “But the real issue is the fact that trucks are driving on the sidewalk. I mean, I can fix my landscaping, I can fix my irrigation system, I just don’t want anybody to get hurt.”

Three new traffic lights that went up last week were the culmination of the Buck Creek Road construction project. The three new traffic signals were built as part of interchange improvements at I-64 and the Buck Creek Road interchange in Simpsonville. They have been installed at the exit ramps from both eastbound and westbound I-64, and are intended to improve traffic flow for vehicles entering and exiting the interstate at Exit 28.

The other signal has been installed at the intersection of Buck Creek and Veechdale roads near the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass.

The lights had been on flash mode for a couple of days to let people get used to their presence, Clifford said.

In addition, the area is clear of all signs of construction and lanes are open and unobstructed except for one short area along one shoulder that still needs a bit of work, she added.

Behnke said he was glad when the road construction is complete, only to have this problem pop up.

He said that transportation officials have told him they are working on the problem.

“They’ve got some plans in the works, but they want to wait a while, with the mall opening, they want to hold off before they start any work,” he said.

Behnke said that while he hopes that transportation officials will not take too long to address the problem, he understands that they have to make plans on how to correct the situation.

“It’s my understanding that they’re going to take care of it,” he said.