MOUNT WASHINGTON, KY (WAVE) - Residents of Mount Washington now have a new eight screen movie theatre to enjoy and no longer have to go out of town to see a good film. The only problem is they may have to wait in a long line of traffic to get to the box office.
The plan to widen Highway 44 between Shepherdsville and Mount Washington and add some new intersections has been in the works for years. But a short term fix by the city to help drive traffic to the new Keystone Cinemas has turned into one big mess.
"It's backed traffic up forever," said Kevin Jaggers.
Highway 44 and Armstrong Road. Who would have thought one little stop light would cause so many traffic headaches?
"It's horrible," said Kathy Cox about the traffic.
"It's done nothing but cause problems since they put it in," Jaggers said.
It's not just drivers who are getting migraines. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is hearing about it.
"When the signal was initially turned on, we got a lot of complaints," said Andrea Clifford, a KYTC spokesperson.
Transportation officials say the plan was to build the turn lanes first, then install the traffic light. But Mount Washington city officials had other plans.
"The city of Mount Washington requested us to go ahead and install a traffic signal before we had the turn lanes constructed," Clifford said. "The Transportation Cabinet usually does not like to do such a thing."
That's because without those turning lanes anyone headed left or right onto Armstrong Road stops the flow of traffic. However the city got a permit anyway to install the light so it would be ready with the opening of the new Keystone Cinemas.
"Their legislators (Bullitt County's) in the area got involved and they got approval to go ahead and do this," said Clifford of the move. "If you don't have the turn lanes and you put in the signal, a lot of times you've made the congestion worse."
"It's ridiculous," said Kim Bittorf, "My husband comes in from Bluegrass Parkway and he's in traffic for an hour and 15 minutes everyday Monday thru Friday."
"I think they really rushed into this without thinking, putting the cart before the horse so to speak."
Mount Washington Mayor Joetta Calhoun told us she hoped the stop light would ease a high number of car crashes that stretch of road has seen. Calhoun also feared the city would lose the cinema project without it, so she chose economic development for the city.
There is some good news. The intersection is now the priority on the Highway 44 project. The state is purchasing right of way property and relocating utilities so they can add the turn lanes to be done sometime in early 2013.
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