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Come Monday, March 4, motorists in two areas of Carroll County will face road closures as highway projects get under way.
Hwy. 36 at Locust Creek will close Monday for 90 days for a bridge replacement project, while Hwy. 47 in Sanders will close for 60 days at the railroad crossing and intersection with Hwy. 36 for improvements to the approaches to the tracks.
Carroll County Judge-Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson said both roads will close to through traffic during the duration of the work on the two projects. He advises motorists to use caution in these areas and for through traffic to follow the detour signs to be installed by the Kentucky Department of Highways.
The bridge replacement at Locust Creek on Hwy. 36 is a project Tomlinson has fought to have funded for years because of the safety issues it poses.
“We’ve had fatalities there over the years,” he said. Tomlinson said the bridge is also narrow, and there have been many vehicles side-swiped.
The more than $3.2 million project — which includes design, right-of-way acquisition and construction — will address these issues and the visibility issues that Tomlinson said have plagued that area for years.
The new bridge will have three spans and, with approaches, will be 231 feet long, according to the state DOH. The south approach will be reconfigured to provide better sight distance, which will greatly improve safety, especially for the many commercial vehicles that travel along this road.
“The new bridge will replace a functionally obsolete bridge,” said Rob Hans, chief district engineer for DOH District 6 in Covington. “This, in turn, will provide safer passage for the people in Carroll County and all those who travel along (Hwy.) 36.”
Judy Construction Co. of Cynthiana was awarded the low-bid contract of $2.6 million to replace the bridge, which is all state funded. The rest of the estimated total amount for the project was earmarked for property and right-of-way acquisition, design and other associated costs.
As of Monday, Tomlinson said the main detour for larger vehicles and semis will route drivers through Bedford on U.S. 42 and U.S. 421.
Local traffic will have other options, and Tomlinson said the best route from Carrollton would be to take Locust Road from Hwy. 36 to West Prong Locust and across to Hunters Heights Road, then back to Hwy. 36.
In its news release on the project, the DOH directs local traffic to Hwy. 1492 (Locust Road), then to Hwy. 3176 and on to Hwy. 1226 (Kings Ridge) to detour the site. However, to prevent oversized vehicles from using that route, there will be no signage to assist motorists. Tomlinson these roads are much more narrow than Hwy. 36 and should not be used by larger trucks. Some sections of these roads are also not marked with yellow center and white side lines.
During Tuesday’s Fiscal Court meeting, Hans said the state will consider posting signs at the intersections of state and county roads to alert drivers of weight limits on those county roads.
Under the contract, the project calls for the road to reopen by June 1. Tomlinson said he has not seen the contract but believes there will be incentives for Judy Construction to complete its work on time and penalties in place if it does not. Weather permitting, the entire project is expected to be completed by June 30.
Closure of Hwy. 47 in Sanders
On the other side of the county, crews begin work Monday at the railroad crossing on Hwy. 47, where it intersects with Hwy. 36 East.
Tomlinson said the project will address safety concerns there by extending the approaches so that the crossing is not so steep. He said there have been problems at that crossing in the past; in one instance, a bus got stuck on the railroad crossing.
Again, the DOH will have detour signs in place. This project is expected to be completed by the end of April.
Other road issues
• The Department of Highways news release said the pavement rehabilitation and resurfacing project is in progress on I-71, both northbound and southbound. Crews will be working from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m. on weekdays and from 7 p.m. Friday thru 10 a.m. on Monday.
Lane closures will be in place. Motorists should be aware of possible lane closures, crews and equipment.
• The bridge on Buffalo Road (Hwy. 467) has been reduced to one lane, Tomlinson said. The one side of the bridge is in bad shape and needs to be replaced.
He said he is working to try to have the bridge, which is on a county road, replaced. It carries three school buses in the mornings and evenings, and officials are trying to keep it open.
It is not yet known if the road will have to close if the structure actually is replaced.