Interstate 65 traffic in the southbound lanes between Cumberland Parkway and Park City will shift into the median area as part of the $38.9 million project to expand the interstate to six lanes in that five-mile section.
The move follows traffic being switched Monday evening in the northbound lanes from the median to the normal travel lanes. That move lifted lane-width restrictions that had been in place for about five months. It forced wide northbound traffic to alternate routes around the construction area from the 43- to the 48-mile markers - basically routing those vehicles through Glasgow.
That same 11-foot width restriction will be in place beginning at 7 p.m. today in the southbound lanes, when the state begins switching traffic into the median.
Both lanes will be restricted to 11 feet to prevent confusion among motorists, who will have to pick between lanes divided by a median wall, according to Richey Cline, project engineer for the state Department of Highways.
Cline said the width restriction has not been without problems. One oversized load got stuck a couple of months ago, causing a four-hour traffic jam. But most trucking companies that haul oversize loads should know about the restrictions. Their permits are revoked and they have to apply for new ones on the approved alternate route, Cline said.
Mobile homes, some large pieces of construction equipment or oversize storage tanks are among those items that are typically too wide.
It shouldn't affect a normal tractor-trailer or recreational vehicle, he said. But even if it does, there shouldn't be any major backups like the first time because there are ways to get vehicles out of the problem area quicker.
Keirsten Jaggers, a spokeswoman for the Department of Highways in Bowling Green, cautions motorists that they will have to be in the right hand lane to be able to use exit 48 because of the divider wall. Signs should be in place tonight warning them of that.
Cline said this segment of the six-laning of I-65 is going well.
"We're on track to be complete by mid-September," he said.
Work also is continuing beyond Park City in another segment to north of Cave City. That $43.6 million project was started in October and is slated to be complete in fall 2013, according Jaggers.
"This fall we are tentatively scheduled to be able to let bids for the next section from Cave City to Horse Cave," Jaggers said.
That will depend on whether lawmakers are able to pass a road plan before they leave Frankfort this week.
Jaggers said that section has been designed and discussions have started about utility relocation and any rights of way that are needed.
The construction of the I-65 interchange at Greenwood is going well.
"We should be able to move traffic over the new section of bridge in the next three or four weeks, depending on the weather, and then we will start building on the south side," Jaggers said. "It's going to be really different for people. The bridges we have now are a combined 66 feet wide. The new bridge will be about 225 feet wide because of how the ramps come into it."
The ramps enter and exit Scottsville Road from a single point in the middle of the bridge, giving it the name of a single-point interchange.
Scotty's Contracting is working on all three projects simultaneously.