Busy Lexington street shuts down for construction

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It's being called one of the most significant Lexington road projects in decades.

Wednesday morning, a portion of South Limestone closed for a massive reconstruction stretching from the Avenue of Champions to Vine Street.

All this week, city leaders want people to go ahead and build extra time into their downtown driving plans.

Mayor Jim Newberry tells 27 NEWSFIRST, "Our traffic engineers say there could be delays of 40 to 45 minutes for some folks, and we're going to try to shorten that, but at least for the next couple of days, they ought to allot some significant additional time in order to deal with the traffic congestion that inevitably arises when you take a busy street like this and shut it down."

And what will the major cosmetic differences be when the 13 million dollar project is complete?

Newberry says, "The most obvious thing I think is that all of the aerial utilities will be placed underground. The sidewalks will be wider. There'll be more landscaping. There'll be park benches along the way,
retail stores, coffee shops, maybe an ice cream parlor or two so that people who are walking from downtown to campus will have a number of places to stop, shop, and stroll."

Limestone markers will also be erected identifying the area on this stretch of road as Collegetown.

Police helicopters will be in the air monitoring traffic and to determine if any traffic plans need to be changed.

Some businesses along South Limestone are concerned that the construction will deter patrons. Newberry says there will be additional free parking that will be available near the transit center on High Street to maintain access for those businesses.

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