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A new overpass is open and new ramps off Interstate 64 onto KY 55 in Shelbyville are open.
Now it's time for the big disruption, with lane closures and detours for the next two nights when the old overpass will be demolished.
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet officials have said that the eastbound lanes of I-64 will be closed tonight, beginning at 7, and the westbound lanes will be closed Tuesday at the same time. Both will reopen at 5 the following morning -- if weather and other elements cooperate.
Those dates were pushed back to Tuesday and Wednesday because of rainstorms that moved through the area on Monday.
Andrea Clifford, public information officer for the Transportation Cabinet, said this will enable crews to take the bridge over the eastbound lanes down Monday night and the overpass on the west side on Tuesday.
During this 2-day construction period, traffic will be detoured off I-64 using the exit ramps at Exit 32. Drivers will use entrance ramps to get back on the interstate.
What will this mean for drivers on Taylorsville Road?
“Traffic is scheduled to be shifted to the new bridge on Friday [today],” Clifford said. “The new bridge will be much the same as the old one, with one lane of traffic in each direction on KY 55. The new bridge was built adjacent to the old bridge. The roadway is not changed at that location except the lanes are slightly shifted to the west.”
That doesn’t mean that traffic congestion at the intersection of KY 55 and Old Brunerstown Road will be alleviated. Shelby County officials have been pushing for the state to implement more traffic control in that area, particularly when shifts end at nearby Martinrea Heavy Stamping.
Clifford said drivers should use caution in the construction area.
“We need motorists to avoid rubbernecking, as crashes sometimes result from this action,” she said. “There will be traffic delays anyway, and a crash will only worsen the delays.”
She added that if people could take alternate routes during this time, they should do so.
New ramp to open
The exit ramp from Eastbound I-64 to KY 55 (formerly Exit 32A) is also scheduled to open over the weekend.
“The new traffic pattern at this interchange is that I-64 East to KY 55 will no longer have two exit ramps like before,” Clifford said, referring to Exits 32A and 32B. “Motorists will use exit thirty-two to access Kentucky fifty-five. At the end of the ramp they will be able to turn left for Kentucky fifty-five North or right for Kentucky fifty-five South. The loop ramp at Exit 32B will be closed once the reconstructed ramp at Exit 32 (formerly Exit 32A) is open. The old Exit 32B ramp will then be removed as part of this construction project.”
These are not the dangerous ramp from KY 55 on to eastbound I-64 that helped prompt replacement of the interchange. Accidents and two deaths at the ramp caused political leaders in Shelby County to push for the immediate repair or replacement of the very short acceleration lane that often had motorists crowded dangerously.
State Rep. Brad Montell (R-Shelbyville) said that people should keep in mind that the inconvenience of delays that will be caused by the bridge demolition next week will be worth it.
“When all is said and done, we have a safe [eastbound] ramp and a better situation, at Martinrea and all around,” he said.
Clifford said she does not a timetable on what the next portion of construction is to be completed next, but she echoed Montell’s sentiment about one more phase of construction completed.
“We are just glad to have gotten to this stage and know that we are progressing along and will have traffic switched over to a new bridge.”
The new KY 55 overpass is part of the $37.5 million widening project will address not only that interchange but also the continued widening of I-64 to six lanes from where previous work ends just east of Simpsonville to Mile Marker 32.8. The remodeling includes lengthening all the entrance and exit ramps in addition to widening the overpass.
Louisville Paving Company was awarded the contract in 2012 for this project in the amount of $37.5 million. Construction is scheduled for completion by April 30, 2014.mpletion by April 30, 2014.