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Newtown Pike Extension Route Unveiled

By Ralph Derickson

UK President Lee T. Todd Jr., center, points out the proposed route to city Councilman Jacques Wigginton, left, and state Transportation Secretary James Codell.


(For a larger view of the route,
click map.)

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"When completed, this roadway will provide a new gateway to the very front door of the University of Kentucky from the interstate highways. It will dramatically augment vehicular and pedestrian access through Scott Street directly to the driveway of the university, thus providing a highly desirable new link with the downtown district and the Urban Village neighborhood being discussed here today."

-- Lee T. Todd Jr., president,
University of Kentucky

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Sept. 5, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- The route for a proposed Newtown Pike extension through to South Broadway and the University of Kentucky was announced by state, city and University of Kentucky officials Sept. 5. The extension would reach the UK campus in two places - at the Avenue of Champions (Euclid Avenue) and at Administration Drive.

Officials from local, state and federal governments and the University of Kentucky signed a set of "guiding principles" to direct the project. The principles require that the project must improve downtown traffic patterns and access to the University of Kentucky and south Lexington, as well as address the needs of current Davistown, Irishtown and Pralltown residents, particularly in the creation of affordable housing.

"We've been talking about extending Newtown Pike since the 1970s, but in earlier plans the needs of the neighborhoods were ignored," said Mayor Pam Miller. "In this plan, the redevelopment of the neighborhood will go hand-in-hand with construction of the road."

Miller said Davistown, Irishtown and Pralltown will be improved through the Newtown Pike Extension planning process. She added thatinput from the affected neighborhoods will be a cornerstone of the plan.

Dorothy Coleman, a neighborhood liaison who is working for the project, was also introduced at the news conference. Coleman will have an office in the Carver Center, 522 Patterson St. She will facilitate the neighborhood goals of including affordable housing opportunities for existing residents, sewer improvements and highway design features such as medians, sidewalks and bikeways.

James C. Codell, secretary of the state Transportation Cabinet, predicted the comprehensive project will become a national model for urban planners.

"When completed, this roadway will provide a new gateway to the very front door of the University of Kentucky from the interstate highways," said UK President Lee T. Todd Jr."It will dramatically augment vehicular and pedestrian access through Scott Street directly to the driveway of the university, thus providing a highly desirable new link with the downtown district and the Urban Village neighborhood being discussed here today."

The 1.25-mile extension will make a sweeping arch through existing neighborhoods to Patterson Street. There it will split, with one leg proceeding on to South Broadway at Bolivar. The second leg, several blocks to the south, will bridge over South Broadway at Scott Street and continue on down Scott to provide a new entranceway for UK.

Because portions of the proposed road will use the right-of-way abandoned by the Norfolk-Southern Railroad, only about 10 to 11 houses lie in its direct path.

After an extensive planning process, construction is expected to begin in 2006. Funding will come from the local, state and federal governments. The road portion of the project is expected to cost approximately $35 million. Costs of the total redevelopment are still being estimated.


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