Stretch of Kentucky 15 to be converted to four lanes

BREATHITT COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - The first phase of the four-lane expansion of Kentucky 15 north of Jackson began in 2004, and was completed three years later. Transportation officials say the next phase of that project, which is federally funded, should be completed by the end of the year.

Janie Gross, who lives in Campton and drives to Jackson at least once a week, and prefers the four-lane stretch of Kentucky 15 to the two-lane one.

"On the four-lane road, to me it's a lot safer. There's not as much traffic," said Gross.

But by the end of the year, that four-lane stretch will get even longer.

Transportation officials say when the project is completed, people using the new four-lane portion of Kentucky 15 will benefit people for multiple reasons.

"With a modern road, it will be safer. The new section does bypass some congested areas with businesses and a couple of intersections and it will certainly help through traffic get to and from its destination faster," said H.B. Elkins with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

Folks like Dustin Coomer, who uses the road about twice a week, says he will feel more comfortable driving.

"You'll have two lanes. You'll have the divider between the four lanes and based on where I drive out of county, it's much safer and quicker and if they did that here. It would only help us," Coomer said.

Tuesday around noon, traffic on Kentucky 15 will be diverted to the northbound lanes of the future four-lane stretch, giving drivers a little preview of what's to come.

The stretch of road currently being converted to four lanes is about two miles long.

The speed limit will be 45 miles per hour on the new stretch of road as the construction continues, and 55 miles per hour when the project is complete.

Some business owners we talked to along the old Kentucky 15, who did not want to go on camera, say they are against the project. They say it will hurt their business.

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