Oliver Lewis Way extension in Lexington open for traffic

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT/PRESS RELEASE) - After decades of planning and years of construction, the extension of Oliver Lewis Way in Lexington, from Versailles Road to Broadway is open.

Mayor Jim Gray, Kelly Baker, Lexington’s top state highway official, federal highway officials, legislators, councilmembers and University of Kentucky and neighborhood representatives cut the ribbon on the brand new road.

The road extends Newtown Pike, connecting the University of Kentucky campus to Interstate 75.

UK officials said the new road will make it easier to get to campus for many visitors. “This project represents a gateway to our city—and to the University of Kentucky—from the interstates surrounding us,” said UK Vice President for University Relations Tom Harris. “At UK, strengthening instruction and student support in our academic buildings and residence halls defines the ‘why’ behind our transformation. For Lexington, improved access and mobility to, from and around the city, represents the ‘why’ behind this project.”

The project also is breathing new life into the Davis Bottom - now Davis Park - neighborhood. The Lexington Community Land Trust is redeveloping the neighborhood with brand new, permanently affordable housing.

City leaders say the Davis Park neighborhood will play an important role, especially with a current shortage of affordable housing in Lexington.

After a public naming contest in 2010, the street was named for Oliver Lewis, the African American jockey who won the first Kentucky Derby in 1875.

The final phase of the project, the Scott Street Connector, is not currently funded, but would cross over South Broadway and tie into Nicholasville Road near Scott Street.

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