NEWPORT, Ky. — Roundabouts that will give travelers on Route 9 through Newport direct access to Downtown are on schedule to be completed late this year.
There are two roundabouts, said Nancy Wood, public information officer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's District 6. The first connects the Taylor-Southgate Bridge, Third Street and York Street. The second is at the end of Veterans Bridge, which connects Fourth and Fifth streets to Covington as well as Route 9 heading south. Both roundabouts are connected via Third Street.
The only problem on the second roundabout? Construction on six blocks needed to complete Route 9 is still on pause by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet because of a lack of state funding, with no word until later this year on whether Route 9 (AA Highway) will make it onto the 2017-18 list.
In the meantime, drivers heading south across the Taylor-Southgate Bridge will likely find the 300 block of York Street reopened in June, said Tom Fromme, Newport city manager. That means traffic that had been detoured for more than a year in that area will go back to normal.
The new Third Street extension will also open soon, switching traffic flow onto the pavement currently under construction, said Wood. That "will allow us to begin constructing the remaining one-third of the roundabout closest to the levee."
The new Third Street also has old-fashioned street lights that tie in with Newport's nod to history.
Completion of the traffic circles will help local traffic, said Fromme.
The Route 9 work is among the millions of dollars in projects for 2017 and 2018 that were put on pause by the state in June. It's unknown which state-funded projects will be refunded first. The short stretch of construction would finish a vision for that highway that began when the Taylor-Southgate Bridge was built in 1995.
The long-term hope is that a completed Route 9 will spur the mixed-use Ovation development, located on the north side of the roundabout. Corporex, which has owned the land for about 10 years, did not return calls on the project.