A major local road project that has been on the drawing board for more than a decade will finally become a reality.
When completed, the Shive Lane extension will directly link two of Bowling Green’s main thoroughfares – Scottsville Road and the booming Lovers Lane.
The idea of extending Shive Lane from where it stops now at Middle Bridge Road to Lovers Lane has been discussed for more than a decade, but the project has never been funded by the city or state.
But negotiations with the Bale family for land needed for a planned roundabout at Shive Lane and Middle Bridge Road led to a deal to use the Bale land for the Shive Lane extension.
The new road, to be built through what is now a cornfield, would lead to a new traffic light at Lovers Lane opposite Searcy Way.
The Bale family has agreed to donate the right of way needed to build the road with the city picking up the cost of building the three-lane road.
Ruthie Bale said her family was “excited” about the deal, which aims to help traffic flow between two of the city’s busiest roads, while also priming the land for development.
“This will give us an opportunity to develop the land,” she said, adding the family hopes that land will eventually be annexed into the city limits.
City Public Works Director Greg Meredith said the city decided the plan “was a good option” after seeing the project stall for years.
“It’s a great deal long-term,” he said.
Earlier this year, a roundabout at Shive Lane and Ken Bale Boulevard was completed to help with traffic flow in the area. The plan is to build the second roundabout at Middle Bridge Road, meaning drivers will be able to travel from Scottsville Road to Lovers Lane without encountering a traffic signal.
Meredith said the new road will be three lanes with a center turn lane and include sidewalks.
The project is still in the early design phase, so there is no official cost estimate yet, but Meredith said previous construction estimates for the proposed extension were below the $2 million mark.
For efficiency, Meredith said the city will put out a request for construction bids for companies to do both the roundabout and road extension project at the same time.
As for a timeline, “our target would be to have it completed by the end of 2021,” he said.
The Shive Lane extension has been discussed since at least 2007. As recently as 2014, it was included in the state’s recommended highway plan but was never funded.