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Drivers asked to find alternate routes for remainder of year
FLORENCE, Ky. (Joe Webb) -- The traffic around Dream Street in Florence is about to become a nightmare.
Starting Friday, road crews begin resurfacing a busy stretch of US-42 on both sides of I-75. The five-lane, half-mile stretch connecting Industrial Road, the expressway and Mall Road will be a construction zone for six months.
It's already a challenge during rush hour so drivers need to gear up for an even bigger challenge. The stretch of road connects people to northern Kentucky's busiest mall, one of the biggest churches, a minor league baseball team and much of the region's manufacturing.
It's busy every day and Friday morning the five busy lanes will be reduced to two lanes. Drivers need to start thinking about alternatives.
At 10 o'clock Wednesday morning, US-42 in Florence was busy. The soon-to-be construction zone is a destination for people who want to shop, eat, buy gas, get their car repaired or sleep for the night. But for thousands of others it's their best route from home to I-75.
Melinda Gentry was on her way from Union to Cincinnati with her daughter.
She said, "I drive it at least a couple of times a week. My husband drives it every day and at rush hour it's kind of a mess."
And about to get messier.
40,000 cars travel this half mile of US-42 every day. Reducing it from five lanes to two will slow things down at best. It's going to be a bit of a headache this summer.
Work starts Friday and is expected to run through Halloween.
Florence Mayor, Diane Whalen, said, "We're trying to give people the heads up. If you travel 42 to get to the expressway or other places, maybe find an alternate route for the rest of this year for the most part."
The project will add a left turn lane to Mall Road from eastbound 42. It will take up deteriorating pavement and replace it. It's work that desperately needs to be done and there is no simple way to do it.
Mayor Whalen travels it every day and already sits in traffic in rush hour. As mayor, she's also concerned with plans the contractor has for a staging and dumping area. It's her city's front door and she wants it cleaned up when the work is done.
"We don't want an unsightly pile of concrete and rebar sticking up at our front door." Whalen said.
Whalen's also concerned about the impact on local businesses. She's confident the destination drivers will still get here. Those just driving through? She thinks they'll drive around.
"There are lots of work arounds if you take the time to find them and I think after you sit in traffic the first time, you will start thinking about different ways to get to your destination," Whalen tells us.
For those drivers coming from the west, the highway folks suggest using Mount Zion road to get to Dixie Highway or 75. They also suggest using Hopeful Church, Pleasant Valley and Camp Ernst Roads to get to Kentucky 18 and around the construction.
Coming from the east, you can use Industrial and US-25 to get to Mount Zion Road and the expressway.
Or you can wait it out.
The construction project will cost nearly six million dollars. Drivers should check for updates on the websites for the Transportation Cabinet and the city of Florence.
CLICK HERE for Kentucky Transportation Cabinet website
CLICK HERE for Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 6 Facebook page
CLICK HERE for City of Florence, Kentucky website
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