The city of Bowling Green has chosen the path of least resistance – literally – when it comes to future projects on the Smallhouse Road corridor.
In 2019, after about three years and about $5 million, a widening of roughly a mile portion of Smallhouse Road between Campbell Lane and Roselawn Way was completed.
The project, which was done in two phases, saw the road broadened from two lanes to three with a center turn lane. The project also included building an 8-foot-wide multiuse path and stormwater drainage improvements. The road has become a major cut-through in recent years, so the city in 2016 embarked on the widening project.
But the last stretch of Smallhouse between Roselawn and Scottsville Road is the most problematic to widen because of the lack of land between private properties and the existing road.
“The proximity to homes and businesses is closer than the other two sections,” city Public Works Director Greg Meredith said.
The city looked at just doing intersection improvements at Scottsville Road and Smallhouse, but because the city would have to outright buy several properties and tear them down to make room for the project, the price tag was estimated to be approaching $3 million.
“It was a lot bigger endeavor, therefore more costly,” Meredith said.
The issue was discussed at a city retreat Tuesday, and the consensus of city commissioners was to move ahead on a plan recommended by Meredith to complete the multiuse path from Roselawn to Scottsville Road.
Meredith said the project will help connect residents “who currently don’t have close access to a park” to Covington Woods Park on the other side of Scottsville Road.
“I wish we could have made it three lanes all the way, but it was cost-prohibitive,” Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson said. “I am glad that residents will now have a safe place to walk.”
A “rough estimate” for the cost to build the muiltuse path is $325,000.
“We will do it as frugally as we can,” Meredith said.
Even without the road widening, finding 8 feet to use for the path “is still going to be tough in some locations,” he said. “We will make it fit as best we can.”
Up next will be several months of working with property owners and designing the project, so it is not likely to be let out to bid until much later in 2020.