I-64/Hurstbourne work brings new lanes, new pains - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

I-64/Hurstbourne work brings new lanes, new pains

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Hurstbourne Parkway traffic at the I-64 interchange. Hurstbourne Parkway traffic at the I-64 interchange.
Kim Putlak Kim Putlak
Jacob Karnes Jacob Karnes
Jamie Youngblood Jamie Youngblood
The ramps marked in red were part of the improvement project. The ramps marked in red were part of the improvement project.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Whether rush hour or lunch hour, how would east end residents get by without Hurstbourne Parkway? Let Kim Putlak count the ways.

To me, the lights are too long," said Putlak. "I don't know whether they're timed, sequenced, what. It's just too long."

Kentucky's Regional Planning & Development Agency (KIPDA) was equally blunt in 2005. Citing "poor or failing levels of service," KIPDA's assessment questioned how Hurstbourne Parkway's interchange with Interstate 64 managed to move the 60,000 cars and trucks its handles daily, much less the 15,000 to 20,000 more expected by 2025, without compromising safety and putting further economic development in peril.

"Sometimes, it's taken me two hours to get home," said Jacob Karnes, someone who commutes daily from Bardstown.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is hopeful that 15 months and $7 million of work will fix that. KYTC's project added a second left turn lane from Hurstbourne southbound onto I-64 east and from I-64's westbound off ramp to Hurstbourne south. Both northbound and southbound Hurstbourne now have three lanes for through traffic from Linn Station Road to I-64.

Signs warn of the changing traffic patterns. But our own drive through the area shows that that some drivers are having trouble going with the flow.

"The signs need to be farther back," Karnes said. "If you come right up on it (the entrance ramp to I-64 eastbound), nobody wants to let you back over because, I mean, it's Hurstbourne."

Karnes and Putlak learned not to rely on Kentuckiana courtesy long ago.

"I just find a back way to cut through," Putlak said.

"I can tell you seven different ways for me to get home if I don't want to deal with this," Karnes continued.

Some of those alternate routes Karnes learned through a buddy system. Jamie Youngblood, another east end resident, learned the old fashioned way - trial and error.

"I don't have a lot of company," said Youngblood, "most folks haven't figured it out yet."

Youngblood is guarding his route as tightly as a top angler would a private fishing spot.

Andrea Clifford, a KYTC spokesperson, said they have finished all but the cosmetic components of the project.

"The signage is complete," said Clifford. "Now we're waiting for the sensors."

The sensors, which could be installed by the end of the year, will allow KYTC to sequence the signals to better manage traffic flow.

But habits die hard.

"I've always managed to avoid Hurstbourne," Putlak said, "by choice."

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