Nicholasville Road traffic can be enough to drive the most calm commuter insane at times. It starts to pick up at the Jessamine/Fayette County line and gets extremely congested fairly quickly. However, despite the numerous people using the road, outside of those special events like ballgames and concerts, Christmas shopping in and around the malls and of course accidents, traffic generally moves along fairly quickly. That is, until you get down to just before the University of Kentucky Medical Center and the lanes available narrow to just two, regardless of the time of day and the traffic flow.
Granted, I do not specifically travel this route all that often, but my wife makes this trip from Nicholasville to just the other side of downtown Lexington daily on her commute to work at the Transylvania Bookstore. I make the trip approximately one to two times week, especially when I head on over to Winchester – in theory helping by car-pooling, but especially allowing us to easily do things on those days after work.
As noted above, traffic is tolerable most of the time, excepting of course events like basketball games and concerts downtown and of course accidents do happen. The reason? Even with the heavy load of traffic you have basically three lanes. Where does the real slow down and bottle neck occur? Of course the location that is two lines only.
Granted, it is not three lanes all the time for the whole stretch. In fact, coming into Fayette county prior to Man-O-War it is two lanes. And typically at peak times in the AM commute there will be some backup. Solution has been implemented sometime this summer that makes one the left turns lanes go straight through, opening up three lanes even sooner. This has been a big help with the flow here. At places between there and New Circle Road you can get four lanes and even five for a brief spot – to aid in turning.
Starting just beyond New Circle though, it reduces to a total of five lanes, typically with a middle turn lane. However, this section up to the university hospital shifts the lane usage during peak times based on directional needs of traffic. Specifically, in bound gets three between 7:00 am and 9:00 am and the outbound gets similar from 4:00 pm until 6:00 pm. It works well, unless you are against the flow of traffic – but generally even then it is not to bad given a light cycle or two.
You get down to the just before the medical center though and the three lanes either in or out narrow to two for both directions at all times of day. There is not a sudden reduction in traffic at this point mind you – just a slight amount. And what happens is a lot of mergers that slow down and are frankly accident prone situations. Not to mention the folks that just miss the fact completely.
Solution is of course to continue the three to one lane swap up past this section of the road. In fact, the lane swap right on up to the Y where Upper and Limestone split 27 into respective one-way traffic on the other end of UK’s Campus. I am not at all sure why this has not been done already – after all you have five lanes in total, just as you do for the part prior to that coming into campus. Make the turn lane and one through lane alternate direction based on the time of day just like the rest of the road and traffic will flow much better.
Anyone from Fayette County that is in control of such things paying attention?
** – Image from kentuckyaccidentnews.com