Holiday buys little relief from labors of road work
The start of the split roadway on I-65 south in Bullitt County. (Source: Michael Williams, WAVE 3 News)
andrea Clifford (Source: Michael Williams, WAVE 3 News)
Amy Carroll (Source: Michael Williams, WAVE 3 News)
Carol Hampton (Source: Michael Williams, WAVE 3 News)
Trucks navigate the orange barrels on I-65 South in Bullitt County (Source: Michael Williams, WAVE 3 News)
NEAR SHEPHERDSVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Labor Day may be the final holiday of the summer season, but it will be no holiday from orange barrels or blocked lanes on roads and interstates throughout Kentuckiana. We'll all be forked if our drive takes us I-65 Southbound from mile markers 118 to 112 in Bullitt County for the next two months.
"Southbound 65 is in a split position," said Andrea Clifford, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) District 5, "we're using median crossovers.”
The far left lane is a borrowed northbound lane. The far right lane will direct drivers to exit ramps. The middle lanes are being repaved.
"The concrete on 65 was getting in pretty bad shape," said Clifford, "and people were getting their vehicles damaged in rough pavement."
Repaving also will close Exit 117, the exit to Highway 44 in Shepherdsville, from 9 p.m. Friday through early Labor Day morning.
"On a holiday weekend? That's the worst idea ever," said Amy Carroll of Turnpike Liquors & Beverage. "That's one of the busiest holidays of the year for us."
Turnpike Liquors sits to the west side of that exit ramp and is visible from the roadway.
"We will have to be slammed Friday early in order to make up for Saturday," Carroll said.
Clifford calls it unavoidable.
"We're really trying to get work done and we need to get work done while we have good weather," said Clifford. "It's not that we try to plan to do it all at once. Some of them we try to work out and coordinate the best we can. But a lot of times, when the money becomes available, we have to move forward with these projects."
Jefferson, Bullitt and half a dozen more counties make up District 5. The Cabinet's website lists almost 30 projects; many set to work through – or have lanes closed through – all or part of the holiday weekend.
Some utility projects are close to completion. The westbound lanes of the Outer Loop have been closed between Judge and Shepherdsville Roads to move water lines. They're set to reopen Friday. Carol Hampton can relate.
"When the bridge construction first started it definitely put a damper on business," said Hampton, referencing Pix Shoes at Preston and Market.
This weekend, the far right lane of eastbound Market is closed from Floyd to Hancock Streets for work related to interstate lanes and the downtown bridge.
“With OSHA regulations, they have to block the street off so many feet out until they get to the construction, so I understand it,” said Hampton.
More importantly, it's not keeping customers away.
"People were scared. Didn't know if they could get to us," Hampton said. "After the first month, business has increased steadily since. We've been very, very, very fortunate."
But Pix Shoes has an established, local customer base. Many of Turnpike Liquors' customers are impulse buyers and come off the interstate.
"They're going to the lake, or coming back," Carroll said. "Some, we may only see once. Couldn't this have waited three more days?"