The City of Berea won approval from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet for a $6.2 million project to widen U.S. 25 N. from Ellipse Street to Highland Drive. The city’s proposal cuts down on possible delays, allowing the project to be bid out as early as summer.
Motorists who try to turn left from Berea’s northbound U.S. 25 know that traffic can back up quickly on the two-lane highway. That will change after the City of Berea won approval from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KTC) for a $6.2 million plan to widen the highway to three lanes from Ellipse Street to Highland Drive, near the Berea Health Care Center.
Initially budgeted for $8.1 million, the road project faced possible delay after state officials requested a cost cut to $6.2 million. Typically, the city would have to submit a change order to the KTC for a redesign of the construction plan. Cost for a redesign was estimated to be between $300,000 and $400,000.
Instead, Berea city officials proposed paying for the redesign fees up front, then getting reimbursed for those costs by the state. On Wednesday the city got the word that state transportation officials agreed with Berea’s proposal, allowing the city to avoid up to six months of delays. That likely would have stalled the project until 2018. As a result of the agreement, according to Berea City Administrator Randy Stone, the project could potentially be bid on as early as summer.
To make the requested cuts on the project, the city had to eliminate planned bicycle lanes on both sides of Richmond Road. Additionally, the foundation of the existing pavement will be milled down instead of being completely replaced. The changes on U.S. 25 North will not disrupt plans for bicycle lanes on the next phase of the bypass, Stone said. The next phase of the bypass will run from U.S. 25 to Kentucky Highway 21 E. The city has already gained approval from the state for $1 million in work for moving utilities along that stretch.
In a related announcement to the Berea City Council, Stone said the city would be seeking approval for a second project on U.S. 25 North, running from Highland Street to the new bypass.